Space travel, exploration, astrophysics, engineering and astrology are topics of knowledge and fields of development which are very close to my heart. I've always been fascinated with what's above and beyond and how things work.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen highlights of these passions in my trips to observatories, planetariums and recently to NASA in Cape Canaveral. It's also what drives my passion for flying, aviation and adventure.
Living in New Zealand allows me a luxurious and accessible view to the Milky Way. The night skies are clear enough in my beloved hometown of Wellington to see this; the stars, planets and other occurrences with the naked eye. A rare privilege for a city within a developed nation. Over my life I have seen meteor showers, comets, total eclipses, amazing alignments of the planets and on more than one occasion the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights. An hour out of town to the Wairarapa or Kapiti Coast expands upon these depths with low light pollution. Go further afield down South to the beautiful Lake Tekapo area in the Mackenzie district; a world heritage sight because of it's clean night skies, and you will find a place where it is impossible for the mind not to be enraptured with 'what if's', 'how's' and other questions about our world, ourselves and our place within the universe. Declared the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association, it is one of only four such reserves around the world.
Astrology to me is mesmerising. The simple (& immensely complicated) detail that whatever we see is past information really blows my mind. Any image no longer exists because of the nature of time, movement & space. Even the minuscule processing time of seeing an image and our brain flipping it means that once we comprehend it, it's not in the same order, space or position it was- although to us this feels instantaneous. We look at the stars, but we are actually looking at the past. It takes light years for those glinkes to reach our eyeballs. Our concepts, our snapshots of our world are working in retrospect.
What we have discovered and what we can see now delves past our galaxy- 'The Milky Way' and down two arms of this out through deep space. At this stage we believe we can only see in two directions from our galaxy, the other two are obscured by another arm of The Milky Way and the suspected black hole at the centre. We can now 'see' back and out to the edge to the remnants of what we suspect started all of it- 'The Big Bang' 💥... or that's what we have theorised so far.
Back to the beginning- we are looking back to the beginning, but our hypothesises are based on past information. We have a glimpse of what was, what potentially things looked like- but we really have a very small understanding of exactly what is right now.
Here's a philosophical nutcracker- It's a fascinating conundrum to ponder the following concept: if everything we see is past, and the further we look the older it is, when we turn that around then the only concept of future lies within us, within our visions and within our dreams. Is it absurd to believe that our conceptualisations are more alive than snapshots of memories?
It's extremely exciting stuff as of now in 2017 with the race for commercial space investment in full swing with private companies and entrepreneurs jostling to be the first to get more (wo)men and sustainable technology onto the Moon, to Mars and to develop and sustain orbiting habitable spaces. The world's fist trillionaires will come from these feats and although these endeavours are entrancing the minds of millions and are promoted as advancing the development of humanity- there is a much darker side to the realities of what these pursuits mean also. Since the beginning of explorations and migrations we have wanted to advance our race; to exchange, to mingle, to find new resources and to make money and sell things.
The main reason for getting to the Moon, Mars & capture meteorites is to mine for their resources. Helium-3 gas exists under the surface of the Moon- this is the missing puzzle piece in nuclear fusion- the holy-tamoli of energy technology that humans have been trying to master for decades. ((See a fav movie of mine Particle Fever for info about CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). A place where physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter- the fundamental particles and the effects of nuclear fusion.)) There are other magnificent things to learn and developments that will happen because of these discoveries and inquiries, yet have no misunderstanding of what the big hitters are financing, particularly from the private funding arena; why they are investing billions of their mega bucks- it ain't primarily for peace… but rather prosperity.
Peace and prosperity… it’s an alluring paradox. For prosperity requires us to find things to continue feeding our needs for energy, consumption and financial gain; conflict and war circles around a lot of these endeavours. Peace.. living in harmony with the Earth and not exploiting her; ‘living within means’ contradicts the very meaning of fortune, profitability and wealth.
Have we not learnt our lessons!? Some shout, those who can settle for enough are a minority and increasingly so- with more information, with more things to see to want, we are increasingly wanting to be wealthy and prosperous. Big money is not made by projects that fundamentals lie in 'living within means'. Are we hell bent on exploiting every natural resource that comes to our reach? Can we never preserve anything that comes within our grasp?... I would have to agree in the truth to this. Even if the average person agrees with ecological preservation, or in at least trying to sustain where we are now without doing cataclysmic increased damage- they are overshadowed by corporations and ventures given authority and rights to create disproportionate payoffs. Just by the nature of our ever increasing global population, we are creating more heat, we are using more things, we want more stuff…
Energy takes fuel. We use stuff to go forwards- both biologically and by the nature of propulsion and keneticism. It's ironic that we go so far back in this process. Our choices of how to go forwards; Aotearoa in my opinion is making stupid decisions trying to keep up with the ‘Big Hitters’ and failing to take stock of who and what we really are, honestly seeing our deficits and recognising our strengths- there are powerful things about being smaller and isolated, we aren’t playing to any of these. We are going forwards with ideas which don't have reverence to our special situations.
There are things that Kiwis can do at ground zero- one is a rather simple thing really- employ our people; value ourselves and our skills and not replace roles with technology. I was horrified last week to walk into my doctors office to find an automated check-in kiosk. On the way out there was a pad with four different smily face options for me to hit and ‘rate’ my experience. ‘They’re replacing you?’ I asked the receptionist, ‘oh, not really, we’re just testing them out, but we’d prefer you use them’, she said to me, ‘I’d rather not thanks, I like a real human, and I like you to remain employed also’ I said back to her. ‘I’m not participating in that crap (referring to the experience rating) either’ I said pointing to the face-box, ‘If I feel the need to tell you how I feel, I’ll talk to you about it.’ Check out of the self serve's, the kiosks, the automated recording- vote for a live human I say... and also as a side note- that bloody emoji thing isn't even made here- it's from the US! These budget cuts don't trickle down to the consumer- if I got a discount for using these services I would be a little warmer toward them, but the patron's prices keep going up and the corporations keep absorbing the cream.
We're obsessed with knowing how to do things and we're getting fixated with everyone's opinions about these ways when in reality we just have to dig in and get going; the process expands and reveals itself along the way. I really don't like the subtext to these things too that technological ease gives the consumer a better feel good boost than having to deal with another human- rather clinical isn't it... the irony wasn't missed on me that this example was in a doctor's rooms. With more prevalence of a compulsion for information, we must restrain our obsessive impulses and let go and trust with a positive disposition to have faith in a forward direction. We need to not be scared of conflict or people not always agreeing. No. that's right, I won't be asking for your feel good factor after reading my blogs soz.
Why with such a small population do we think employing these replacements are a good thing; we don't have the populations size like overseas to support them without harm. These tech's don't encourage people to have to confront others and deal with conflict or their emotions, it's removing roles for employment within our communities, and, back to my last post, again it doesn’t have anything to do with ‘ease of service’ or better procedures, it’s about lowering costs and cutting financial corners. We are mad if we are compliant to these manoeuvres. Humans need jobs, we need things to do, we need purpose and we need opportunities DESPERATELY in NZ as it is, why in fuck would we want to diminish all of these qualities both humane and commercial? Here we go again for another round of guinea pig test theories on our communities- re: previous post and Eftpos.
I'm sure the average New Zealander is completely unaware of the rocket launches that will be taking off from the Mahia Peninsular or of the incredible NZ scientists, engineers, astrologers and astrophysicists who have made world first discoveries and revolutionary developments over the decades which have shaped our understandings of our universe, and been fundamental in where we now stand as global citizens in space technologies. William Pickering - central figure and pioneer of NASA space exploration, Beatrice Tinsley - astronomer and cosmologist, Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson - scientist and winner of the 1908 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Roy Kerr - who proved a solution to Einstein's equations which modelled a spinning black hole are just a couple of (major) mention.
I'm intrigued to what community consultation was made by Rocket Lab? ... as I remember correctly we had a national highway diverted as it crossed the path of the Taniwha. We are the First Nation in the world to give a river the same rights as a human and we have special laws protecting our foreshores… but rockets blasting off are ok eh? Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled being a space geek- but it really fascinates me what gets public airtime and how agendas play out…
I loved seeing that James Cameron is one of the biggest backers behind Planetary Resources. Their main goal is to mine the Moon. A little contradictory to your public image innit James? All clean green and protecting the environment yet your happy to go to another celestial body and pillage theirs? Planetary Resources recently acquired Asterank- their website offers scientific data (mass, composition etc) and projects the economic value of mining more than 600,000 asteroids. It's common place these days for investors to have a foot in each side, but make sure they predominantly publicise their good intent. Actually it’s naive to think that many cutting edge developments would work without philanthropy... that goes to my own also! It's also a righteous position to be cynical considering what private investment is doing for both sides of the coin- we can't make things without investment. A world without philanthropy would be a dark and dingy world indeed… or some more ruthless might say, money has no face and no name.
Light & dark, good & bad- this is the dichotomy of human nature- we are not all designed to want to help, neither to be frugal- by the nature of this, it's actually when we see detrimental things happening that we are encouraged to design counteractions and we want these to be successful. One must also keep in mind, what we perceive as bad another sees as good and vica versa. We can be the change we want to see, we can invest ourselves into projects with conviction and passion, and we can make a difference but utilising and embracing that word 'action' in every form, but rat on about ‘stopping globalisation’ or ’halting consumerism’ is knitting things in the wrong direction if you ask me.
There is one outcome which is always certain- remain complacent and un-empowered and nothing will change. I recommend picking at least something to dooo.. even if it’s teeny, but hey, thats a choice also.
In amongst other incredible projects I am currently in the middle of creating my new exhibition and collection of artworks. I’m excited about what is brilliant, I follow energies and people who are associated with things that tug my heart strings, ignite my imagination and make me feel fulfilled, valued and energised. I like to do things that make myself and others feel good and that hopefully lay the foundations for positive and virtuous choices for those to follow.
It’s a magnificent, complicated and ginormous world out there, we are really so tiny in the big scheme of things it can be monumentally overwhelming and defeating. But I find something of a release within these revelations- I want to fill my teeny tiny time here with cool shit.. and I like to dig out the 'feat' in defeating. I like to encourage myself and my loved ones around me to invest our spirits & expertise into projects & developments with conscience and foresight; not just for us, but for who will come next. Initially these things may not make changes on a global scale, but on a personal and community level we can make improvements and amendments… and it’s amazing what ‘little’ things can accumulate to become bigger movements- NZ we have made many of these in our past, lets make sure we make them in our future!
‘Merica; Land of the Free… and I’ll warrant the tempted and hungry. More on that later.
Polite, kind, supportive, invested, honest, open and truthful get-up-and-goers- ‘Mericans tickle me pink. My friends here are fun, and they indulge their inner children. I love that. There is an abundance of genuine pleasantries in the United States. Doors are held open, I hear ‘thank you’s’, ‘please’s’, ‘Ma’am’s, ‘Sir’s’ and other kindnesses. I have conversations on the street corner, I stop and am invited into occurrences in passing, I am welcomed into people’s homes, businesses and places of recreation and gatherings with affection; and I experience hospitality the way it used to be. Traditional, yes, Sir, ‘Merica is traditional; it’s really refreshin’.
It has also put into perspective how unique and diverse our family systems are in Kiwiland- we are quite avant-guard in comparison to other Western countries; we are much more unorthodox than most realise; aaand because of misinformation broadcast to us by the powers that be, it’s no wonder we have an identity crisis and lack solidarity. Our collective identity as ‘New Zelanders’ is fractured into ethnic groups and a screaming class system. We are can be very modern, we can be very relaxed in some aspects, but we are also very divisive. We have outdated impressions, stereotypical media ones and misappropriated governmental ones. I don't think as a collective we really know who or what we are or where we want to go as a group.
New York City; one of my favourite cities, you are just a small stop on this adventure. Predominantly I have been in Florida, in Long Island and now upstate New York; Duchess County. MYYY GAWWD that last one has enraptured me. An myyyy GAWWD am I thankful to be back for a reprise in the provinces. This US experience has given me a much different perspective on the Untied citizens- and one which has made me happy with a new appreciation for this population.
It’s a different side to ‘Merica that I see this time around. It was fourteen years ago I was last here- a whipper snapper let loose in New York city for two and a half weeks to experience the Art World, visit famous galleries and meet with established and famous creatives. A lot has changed. My adventure in 2003 was 2 1/2 years after the September 11th massacre. But rather than sadness there was a great amount of hope, a huge amount of fizz and a lot of passion directed to going forwards and recovering from what had happened.
New York was LOUD- and really fuckin sassy- it was my kinda place at that point. It’s a much quieter city now 14 years later; actually shockingly so. It feels muzzled to me, unfortunately it kinda feels a little more like any other big city. People are plugged in; with headphones and necks bent their energies are directed internal and overwhelmingly down. There is much less chatter, there is no honking of the cabs and the mega corporations have squeezed out family owned businesses. There is a feeling.. a funny feeling of loss. That big city ache yeah, ya see it in peoples faces, ya can feel it in the air. The high’s are bigger here, but the low’s equally cavernous. Cities have a way of amplifying emotion and experience; they can be the best of places and they can be Hell on Earth- it can be a dog-eat-dog kinda world out there with a very small buffer zone. I felt last time that was moderated by people’s expressions and authenticity of behaviour. New Yorkians told it like it was. That release valve of an outburst seemed to put a place to natural order- it legitimised the complexities of living in this rat-race and lattice of high-rises. Now without this presence, it has been replaced with a simmer, with a glare. This aside, it’s addictive, a sensory explosion and a place of indulgence for the intellect, the mind and the pocket.
I’m nostalgic?- perhaps, sometimes the stories which are woven are not always of light and laughter. It can be confronting what we can see if we are able to make comparisons. Unfortunately, it is one of the sadder parts of travel I find, seeing what was and what now is; making comparisons with how things were and how they now are… maybe that’s why I’m always going places I haven't before. Familiarity makes my perspective of digging deep to look as with child’s eyes; with wonder and amusement, a little more complex. Sometimes, it can be a battle not to be jaded- it takes a lot of work to choose to look for the good in places without comparison to the past.. a technique well utilised upon ourselves and others as they grow also.
Being a motobabe; driving and riding around the world, gives me a huge amount of experience within different culture’s driving styles and systems. America is fair with a rather accurate assessment of safe speeds to drive on their roads. Or perhaps this is explained better from the other end. In NZ, our corners are marked a particular speed. A skilled driver knows that at times they can be taken 10 or 20km faster than this with correct road positioning, acceleration and condition appraisal. It doesn’t build a sense of faith within the transport system when you know the information being provided to you is inaccurate or overly cautious. Cars are being built safer, to handle greater speeds, and humans are more skilled and trained drivers.
Overseas countries (in particular Italy) takes these considerations into account within their infrastructures. There are toll roads which allow those who want to travel at higher speeds the luxury to do so, there is ‘margin of error’ accounted for within measuring speeds, there is acceptance within drivers to keep right to let others pass if they want to. There is an educated and mature approach to human process i.e. excellerating out of a corner or overtaking another vehicle, and, thus an educated and mature approach to speeding infringements. E.g 4km (2.4 miles) over the speed limit is not warrant for a $60 fine. Adjacent to another project of mine, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with a Sherif about the strategies and systems they employ over here in New York to uphold standards yet be fair within them. * I’ll have ya note I’m not writing this because I have a problem with tickets- I’ve never been issued a speeding ticket by a police officer, I like fairness and I'm not a fan of people being set up to fail. Anxiety can be personally crippling, but it also causes other obstructions.
As a motorcyclist it is immensely dangerous to be nervous or panicky about being 4km over the limit. Doing stupid reactions like slamming ones brakes on after seeing a cop or camera can have catastrophic repercussions- plus it’s totally useless, they’ve already got you on radar by the time you see them- however it's not going to win you point by not shaving off that speed- it's about unfair margins. It’s not great being behind a car which decides to do shock braking either- I always have a large following distance precisely for these occurrences and because more time, gives one more space for reaction.. to annnything.
Travellers to NZ, be warned of ‘zero tolerance’. Perhaps we should look a this in a broader context eh.. I would argue we have a rather ‘zero tolerance’ to a lot of things.
Here’s a controversial one for you. We are getting more access, experience and training within cars which are engineered for better handling and have more advanced safety features. With more people travelling internationally, and more people being exposed to driving in different environments we are all become increasingly confident and skilled, each generation improving upon the former. Why are our systems not taking this is into consideration? Why is there excessive moderation? These slogans about ‘speed kills’ are not entirely true- there are many states here in America where the speed limit has been slowly increased (75mph/ 120km.. and even up to 85mph/ 137km) with no increase in fatalities. In the US and other countries I have visited, there is an emphasis on monitoring and improving routes, roads and freeways; in NZ we upgrade infrastructure but we lack a reassessment of the quality of these new resources. There are many cultures around the world where people are given the respect to develop their talents and opportunity to take responsibility for them. Ok, I’m going to prod the stick further for the sake of it- You know those boy racers- instead of fining them and taking away the things they love why not offer them an opportunity to up-skill and go track?.. Out there? Well there are places where we are giving addicts a place to shoot up, providing them with needles and a nurse incase they overdose (NY, Melbourne come to mind).. bit backwards isn't it if you support one demographic excelling at a choice yet not another…
Here in the US there are new cameras at intersections. Flashing for infringements, particularly at night, they can give ya an awful fright. Even after one knows they are there, they’re really unnerving. It’s startling, it breaks your concentration and it doesnt make anyone a better driver. Again, being nervous, edgy and fearful is counterproductive to any human in any situation. With the increases in GPS navigation, the erratic nature of people’s driving by taking directions has hit a new high in my experience also... I raise my hand to doing a precariously executed one of these in a car recently myself. I preempt you making a last minute turn cos ya’ve overshot the intersection buddy.. I empathise- it’s ok, I try to have that generous following distance to allow for erratic incidences. It’s not a catastrophic event if we miss the route- there’s a thing called ‘re-route’, oh, and there’s those old skool things called ‘signs’ and ‘sense of direction’. What’s going to happen to us without training this facet of intuition?… strangely when one thing is lost another thing grows- I'm intrigued with what this will be.
It can be fun to be lost, and I can guarantee you, Google doesn't give you the cool back routes with funky ass shyit off the main track yo. Useful for getting from A-B yes, great for people with physical and mental difficulties, anxiety issues and a plethora of other situations- but for Joe Smith? Short term benefit v long term lack of developed skill is an interesting concept to ponder. As is learning the harder option then having the easier as a back up plan. The only way to overcome anxiety and nervous disorders is to decompartmentalise the problems and chip away at them by calmly evaluating whether the panic is justified. I hate seeing things which just make this more difficult for us.
ALL of the above is totally trivial and pathetic when it is placed next to the big issues that NZ really needs to get it's teeth into. Issues which are hidden, represses and rarely given airtime or promoted by the government as fundamentals that need to be fixed and assed. Highest infant mortality rates in the developed world, highest suicide rates in the developed world, children born of incest, domestic violence, inflated and extreme cost of living, three times the cost of anywhere else in the world to build housing, lack of housing, excessive taxes and rates and a quality of life which is low. Pathetic levels of remuneration, no appreciation for skill, corrupt business and law standards, grossly polluted waterways and land and severely behind in keeping up with new eco standards. LOOOOW and poor. Not the 'clean green' we tell the population or advertise ourselves as at all. Oh and as a side note- a democracy is not supposed to be a duopoly- swinging back between two major parties which are only regurgitating the same bullshit year in year out will NOT ever change things.
Humm, I need to changed the topic; If we want to talk in a sense of experience and training. The former being shown something, the latter being given the tools to undertake that skill further we could bring in this example; the Dunning Kruger effect. The more we can help people recognise positive skills then they can develop these. The more we can give people direction, purpose and opportunity to develop their passions, the more likely they are to find their skillsets.
Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
1 tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
2 fail to recognise genuine skill in others;
3 fail to recognise the extremity of their inadequacy;
4 recognise and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill.
Basically this states that;
The more you know, the less competent you think you are because you know there is so much you don’t know.
The less you know, the more you think you know because you don’t know what you don’t know.
There is no shortcut , there is so much you don’t know without experience.
E.g it's taken me years to hone my skills as a motorcyclist. From originally riding a trike, to a bicycle, to being a pillion, to owning increasingly powerful motorbikes, to now owning a high performance racing bike. But in order to do this, I firstly learned by observation, participated through many stages of learning at different skill levels and then continuing to up-skill and learn as a rider. I took and I take advanced rider corses, I learn about the mechanics and physics of machines and I interact with seasoned riders, racers and enthusiasts. None of this is finite, I am always learning, I am always seeking.
That's one side of the coin, the other is the Dude or Dudette who fronts up with the cash and buys a high performance machine and feels they can do the same thing that I can without any experience or training. In other words, they don't know what they don't know, a dangerous situation and an accident waiting to happen.
We can use this example in driving a vehicle, we could use this for making art, we could use this in understanding the finer details of human relationship, of astronomy & astrophysics, of medicine... the list is endless. Our conceptualisations are totally relative to our perceptions and current knowledge. Fundamentals of base theories are just ideas that have consensus. The most critical part of Dunning and Kruger theory is that incompetent people 'fail to recognise genuine skill in others'. This happens with employers, this happens with friends and peers... this happens with family, this happens with criticisms upon things that are radical or unconventional. It's at the kernel of 'Tall Poppy Syndrome'... it is incredibly detrimental to growth and performance from any viewpoint.
It's also a fascinating effect that by it's nature comes hand-in-hand with being adventurous, exploring new things and taking risks. Bit of a mind bending balancing act aint it! For if one doesn't have courage and balls to push the envelope past what is established (either personal or external) then one would never find out what they don't know; if one dosen't have experience then one cannot ever be faced with ones incompetencies or shortfalls. Here's where an injection of humility is useful. In New Zealand, an island nation insulated from direct influence and moderation from neighbours (our closest one we have come to hate as the wealthier bigger brother who left us behind) there is a breeding ground for people to hold insensible ideas without being moderated by close interaction or having ease of access to experiences which show up insensibilities. NZ has laws unto it's own which although may seem on the surface to be like other places, are not; bullying, corporate mentality and oppressive tyrannical conduct is commonplace both in personal and professional spheres. As a society we are static, complacent, lack any faith in leadership, naively dutiful and lead by false information. If we keep our head buried in the sand thinking we know everything and thing's are ok; acting superior and arrogant in our assumptions, we are going to become further disillusioned, further alienated from how the rest of the world is progressing, more discontent and feel only envy. Jealousy is at the root to a lot of what is simmering in Kiwiland- when are we going to have the courage to admit this and deal with it?
Our teeny kiwi guniea pig society gets subjected to all sorts of hair brained schemes. Often completely out of our control. Someone has a great new idea, and NZ becomes the testing ground for it. It’s not by accident that we are at the forefront of technological integration- take the implementation of Eftpos for example. We have had card cash since 1985 when The Bank of New Zealand started rolling it out in petrol stations. Pull out cold hard chachinga to pay in Aotearoa and people assume it’s from illegitimate means or you're a drug dealer because people have become so conditioned to this method- the rest of the world ain’t so unguarded towards those big banks and ‘Big Brother’s’.. neither am I. It makes me angry that because of our relative isolation and docile societal temperament we have our liberties of choice narrowed. It’s much harder to coerce a bigger population into doing a particular method by removing established practices to leave only one or two options. I could trickle into discussing the prevalence of duopolies and market cornering here too… thankfully our population is also small enough to sustain a counter-act to some of this, with boutique markets and a DIY mindset... and we are ingenious, enterprising and creative- but we're loosing the capacity to be like this because we are so repressed by the cost of living, pissed about what we are 'made to do' and bitchy to each other. It concerns me immensely how unnecessary restrictions are being enforced upon New Zealander’s liberties- and for those who choose less popular ones they are faced with inferences of shadiness. It's hard to have an open minded view point when you're living in a closed mind world.
Money in itself is a funny thing in NZ- it's not loved, its not encouraged and it is shrouded in inferences that if you are good at making it you must be corrupt. Especially if you do so outside established systems i.e a 9-5 or one 'job title'. These restrictions; these often invisible parameters, as with diet, as with behaviour, as with social repression or idealism only creates additional problems, and when it all boils down, societal systems are never really in place for ‘safety’ or for ‘protection’ they are there to gather revenue.
The most detrimental of these was the introduction of Tourism to NZ. It is only recently I have realised how much this has damaged our country. It is the local who has paid the price for how we have sold ourselves out to the world. We whored our land like pimps, raping Mother Nature and the unique New Zealand culture for the pennies in others pockets. The cost of living increased, the scramble for resources increased, our genuine desire to meet with other cultures dropped and it has become about revenue, hold out ya hand for more revenue… but this didn't help out the little guy. We failed to implement procedures to gather moolie form travellers as they entered the country or locations of significance i.e. Queenstown and so to make money the prices of basics and infrastructure was hiked. I’d be surprised if the average NZd’r would even consider travelling down that way anymore- it’s extremely expensive for a NZD earner to stay there because the accomodation, food and activities are out of proportion to what people can earn. If there is no fee for foreigners to see our amazing culture and sights, then it is gathered from the incidentals; food, accom, basic transport infrastructure etc- but this just additionally penalises the local who also has to pay the jumped up prices yet isn't earning foreign currency.
Who are places for if not for the people who look after them and give their lives and love to sustaining them?
There is an exotic location I have been scoping out. There are a limited amount of tourists allowed in the country at one time. There is a $250 USD (at peak season, $200 off season) fee PER DAY for being in the country. You are only allowed to travel on pre-approved tours with licensed guides and in particular areas of the country. You are charged a ‘foreign national fee’ for entering places of religious and environmental significance and there are two prices, one for local, one for visitor. Fair deal if you ask me (although I agree this example is on the steeper side), how badly do you want to do something? How much do you value it? If it’s a ‘meh’ to either of those, don't go. If you like what they have, or if you would like to see it in person, then find a way to dig deep and pay for this luxury. NZ we were desperate, we let our leaders sell us out because we didn't know better and now WE are paying the price. We were scared to hold ourselves with integrity, we were scared of ‘loosing out’ and now we are at deficit to the choices and strategies that were implemented. This must change. We need to look after NZ and put our people first with first opportunity. We have all the behaviours of a dysfunctional family- we can do better than this.
Below is an informative video, given to me today just before publishing this bog post. It is from a man I greatly respect, it shoots from the hip with eye opening statistics and it talks about topics close to my heart from a similar perspective.
… ok, I’m metaphorically going back to the U.S. of A.
Food. Food here is BIIIIG. Always has been in my experience; in mass and in obsession. Yet, there is SO much misleading information and it is extremely hard to eat well through all this temptation. I love a doggy bag though cheers ‘Merica- yet sometimes with all this stuff in-front of me, it can be hard to remember that it’s not totally necessary to have to finish it all in one go.
The billboards, the places, the signages, the overflow of fast food drive-though outlets, the misleading labels, the constant calorie numbers on menus.. it’s a minefield. Originally those calorie numbers came from the litigation culture here, but it now encourages a much more unhealthy obsession. Humans should be encouraged to eat well rounded not by numbers- it can only end up in people feeling resentful and unfulfilled. A little of what you like does you good- or everything in moderation yeah?
Here’s a few truths. Eating fat does not make you fat. I.e. eating a high calorie meal at the right time with whole food fats and produce is NOT bad for you. Low calorie foods will send you crazy with the chemicals in them trying to trick your mind and metabolism into thinking you have food love. The more food stuff ya see, the more any human is going to feel hungry- that’s a basic primal reaction; billboards, driving past outlets, reading cook books, or advertisements online, on telly or just ON everywhere. The nutrients within a particular fruit or whole food need all the other bits to be ingested properly and to absorb the vitamins within- i.e the whole raspberry has all sorts of goodies in it as the whole thing- it’s not the same benefits when the vitamins or elements within a product are separated out and added into something completely different. Feeling ‘bad’ about eating a treat food, or something hi cal does a huge amount of damage to a person- this only makes one feel they have ‘failed’ at eating well, or have ‘fallen off the bandwagon’ by doing something incorrect. If an entire nation is encouraged to drive everywhere, it ain’t gunna encourage a person to get out and walk to get their produce and meals AAAAAND my fuck; Eggs with added hormones to make harder shells??! Milk with additives left right and centre (read the fine-print) scary flavoured creamer… Bread with added sugar (everything with added sugar.. check out some of those chemical names #wolfinsheepsclothing), Chicken breast the length of 1/2 my forearm *largest chook I’ve ever seen- hey Arnie the Chiketo… Hummus with added sweeties and food colourings.. fresh juice? Bet you it aint…
Here's a fact- sugar makes you hungry. Sugar in anything makes you crave more. Sugar is mostly unnecessary in our diets except in moderation through fresh fruit and other natural places, as it aids digestion. At times of illness, pregnancy and other unusual instances it can be very helpful- but for Joe Average it's totally not needed within the products we see through foodstuff manufacting. Going ‘gluten free’- umm, well what they replace those ingredients with is… Sugar was designed and is programmed primally within us to make us gorge. Fact. It’s not something an intellect can override. Adding it into an empty tummy is like setting off a panic to your metabolism. “Feed meee"… “feed meee anything” it will cry. Add it in moderation, infrequently and at the right times i.e.- within a balanced meal and it wont feel so much like shooting up. The less ya have it, the less it appeals, and after a rather small amount of time, it really does icky stuff to you if you do have it i.e- the shakes, temple migraines, that erratic sweaty eyeball feeling.. just kind of grossness really.
Therapeutic dose- it’s medical terminology referring to when the use of a substance benefits the user in the short term. Take any chemical addition into the body past this point; either natural or synthetic in form and it will have become a poison.
Big deal? It is to those of us who these additives (sugar, colouring, preservatives, I would say even all these ‘good extras’ e.g. protein, calcium, etc) set off chemical reactions where they compel us to seek more food love, to try to fill ourselves up or which create reactions, sensitivities and allergies to some demographics. There are those of us who additionally have an emotional reaction to chemicals, both natural and synthetic.. more and more I am finding out this also has something to do with hormonal fluctuations. For others, food is simply fuel, but I think more and more we are seeing prevalence in the former examples; those who perceive food as fuel most certainly are a minority. I think some of us unconsciously like to be jacked around by sensations more than others, and this capacity, when out of balance has the propensity to lead us into also sorts of temptations and experiences.
It’s at times like this when I’m travelling that I get twangs of longing for NZ… ‘Merica does it to me and so does Japan- it’s a sugar minefield over there. I get to a point where I miss clean air and less of this crap. I am so thankful for a lesser level of this infiltration at home. But it is there- the star ratings, the calorie lists, the ‘health food’ stands.. it’s all a creapin’ in and it’s all marketing peps. They don't give a fuck about your health- they care about your moolie. It’s fads and quick ‘fixes’… actually they are long term muck ups cos they really are just a waste of time and emotion. The mega corporations (although once in a while are taaaasty!) are filled with preservatives, fillers, fake ingredients and additives- by taking out Mr & Mrs local corner shop who is making meals from scratch and smaller quantities, we again have less access to whole produce and more access to chemicals. Nothing but three healthy meals a day with limited sugar, balanced green, fibre, carbs, fats and whole protein will sustainably do the trick for a healthy diet and weight balance in my experience. Aiming for some number? If you're doing this and it’s not the magic bingo… well then honeybee that’s not what you are supposed to be. Wouldn't you rather be glowy and happy than skinny and miserable? Do I eat shit? of course! I love food!- all varieties of food and I get the most enormous F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) if I don't have what I want or crave, but I’m careful about timing, I’m careful about portions, I’m aware of my mental state, who I am with and trigger stress related situations, and I try to not internally berate and then punish myself. Did three lifetimes worth of that in a past life- didn't get me anywhere. I need what I like, life’s too short to miss out. If I can be in an environment where I am not constantly attacked with this barrage I am a much, much happier human. Plus, the more one is worried about food, the more intense it is. If we are relaxed and at ease with it, ‘treats’ don't = ‘freaks’.... yep cheezy but true.
It’s on those notes, and by escaping that barrage that I am thankful and privileged to be currently upstate in New York. With the Hudson river close by, the open big clear sky, the sounds of the birds, fresh grass, big trees and open paddocks. It’s heaven, it’s my heaven being back in the countryside and near moving water. City life? It’s my thing for short bursts, but my happy place is of vistas green, gold, blue and pale pale eggshell. I grew up with this luxury of city to country, and it is within these juxtapositions that I love and adore them each for their own benefits, for both environments teach me appreciation for the other. If you have no measure stick, no comparison, how are you to ever know what is so wonderful or valuable about a particular thing, place, person or experience?
There is so much opportunity within larger populations. There are so many more people of ‘kind’ to find and share similar concepts and thoughts with, there are so many more people available who see the worth in creativity, creative investment, supporting ambitious dreams and projects of desire which sometimes have no other purpose than just being fucking cool things to do. There is a societal infrastructure which loves success in America and it truly is a place where you can chisel a spot for yourself doing something rather unusual and have a customer base to support it. There is love for doing things that make you happy, helping each other get there, and finding a way to maintain being there for an extended period.
Lets say, in addition there is the capacity for longer periods in the limelight… or at least a self made glow. In NZ this can become brief and rather unsustainable. It is also why a lot of us become very good at many things, because time on top is not continuously feasible for long, because there isn't really anything up there except for your head above a parapet lined with daggers and disesteem, unlike here, there is minimal support. There is a bulletproof ceiling of ‘fair remuneration’ and and even more repressive one that implies one should ‘be thankful for ones job or opportunity as is’. It is not the physical reality of getting to the top of your profession which is the hardest- it is the phycological barrage which is so damaging, depleting and exhausting.
A child growing up in the states might have a higher statistic of being shot in a drive by, but the chances of them taking their own life by suicide or having other emotional, mental and spiritual problems are faaaaar lower than in Aotearoa. Keep in mind- there are only 4 million of us in comparison also.
Under one UNICEF heading, 'Ensuring Health and Well-Being', NZ country was placed 38th place out of 41. (41 being the worst measuer). This also covered indicators such as the neonatal mortality rate and the teenage birth rate. The comments about adolescent suicide were particularly damning. The report found New Zealand had the worst rate in the world at 15.6 per 100,000 people in the designated age bracket (15-19). This was substantially higher than the next worst countries, Lithuania, Finland, Chile and Ireland, and more than eight times worse than the best performing countries, Italy and Portugal. It was twice as bad as the American youth suicide rate and almost five times worse than Britain's.
"Youth suicide is an avoidable reality in New Zealand, but it is not being adequately tackled", mental health experts say. Really? Let me explain something from someone who's been there- it's prevalent in all striations of society and it's entirely linked into the bullying and psychological abuse we subject each other to.
NZ struggles with people in the limelight extensively, I've talked about this before, but I want to say this again, because if we were truthful about what is happening, we can find a way to take the sting out of this and pave a way for next generations to not be subjected to this abuse. Basking in a well deserved glow is seen as hogging it, blowing your trumpet, or preventing others from having their go. Every industry is ruthless at the top- it’s human nature to want to be Top Dog; that inevitably requires a change of guard, but in NZ this mentality is exacerbated by a small population who feels marginalised. Don't get me wrong, New York is ruthless, but there are different types of this, and the variety at home is intensely malicious, rooted in envy, spiteful and incredibly vindictive… in comparsion it’s a logical type of harshness here. At home people think there is not as much to go around -or there is a greater perception of lack. This creates a lower tolerance towards people who seem to ‘sit pretty’, or even those that are ambitious and determined to achieve their goals; and a culture that lacks integrity and courage to stand and support parties in conflict or dissent. People are way too invested in other people's business also and where their lifestyles come from- it's always so refreshing for me to be overseas and not have to reply to the stock standard question after 2 minutes of meeting someone of 'what do you do?'. At home you don't find a lot of people courageous enough to put their head on the line for a cause (or a friendship either work or personal) for it affecting future prospects, current prospects, working relationships, social structure or the big one when it really comes down to it.. money. Remuneration honey- money has an evil way of swaying opinion and buying allegiance. NZ deals are not ones where two parties come out winners and walk away happy- there is a winner and there is always a big looser
Once we have achieved or mastered a situation within a ripple there isn't an automatic pass out card to things being easy or smooth sailing. In my experience as soon as I have felt I've got it sorted, or I am 'sitting pretty' the game changes; I can guarantee I will be thrown a life curveball. In my experience the ripples get more complex, the challenges within them more elaborate, and the skills required to keep going forwards more involved. Either this 'upping of the stakes' can be self made, or the Universe will kick them in for us.. especially if one has become comfortable or complacent. It's a pretty horrific environment to live within constantly battling power-plays from all angles.
I’ll share my understandings about ruthlessness however, it only perpetrates fear and with this in prevalence, there is no freedom of exploration, freedom of expression or the playfulness of invention. There is also becomes much less honesty and openness.
Money does not and never will buy true loyalty. By nature this quality is one built between each other over time. It takes trust, it takes integrity, it take the initiative to work things out between parties face-to-face and it takes the king hitter of all- respect. For a nerdy assessment, this last one is defined in the dictionary as:
re·spect | rəˈspekt/ noun
1 a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements."the director had a lot of respect for Douglas as an actor"
2 synonyms: esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, deference, honour "the respect due to a great artist”
Often it is found in abundance in places you may not expect. Places and people who run their own set of rules, not ones dictated to them. Seeming chaos has unspoken rules, so do people who live unorthodox lifestyles, and in my experience their concepts of fairness and estimation are often resolute, instinctive, unwavering and built upon practical knowledge. True respect for another is not illustrated by using someone for self purpose or gain nor using them as a pawn within manipulations or a system; nor putting up with them because they serve a scheme.
Never underestimate the power of human connection. We can soon dismiss an email but it is very hard to forget a person who we’ve dined with, laughed with or spoke in person with- for better or worse impressions. The power of intuition is apparent through interaction; that happens between people not through emails. Intimacy is corporeal; true ‘business’ is intimate. Go for a walk, go for lunch, get on an aeroplane, go try something new.
People make their own minds up about others or situations. Some believe the hype, others their own assumptions. In my experience, humanity likes fantasy; people like to spin stories to inflate their sense of self importance and social standing- they ‘know things’, we’re all guilty of this just by having an opinion. Really at the end of the day, who cares? What another ‘knows’ is of no relevance to the bigger picture- one which only the individual can paint, with or without assistance.
I like to sleep at night, I have a conscience, and I’ll always defer to that bigger picture and the long game. ‘Conscience’ doesn’t mean goody-two-shoes, it means I’ll stand by my decisions. I’m happy to wait things out, I know the rewards patience and kindness brings, and more importantly how the world has a natural order to righting itself. I shut down on those who threaten my ability to focus on where I am going and try to derail my thoughts. People are special, places are special- I am remorseless in walking away from those who have malicious intent and will ferociously protect my loved ones from those who take pleasure out of spitefully attacking others for self gain.
If we make choices which align with our fundamentals then bravely standing up for our beliefs becomes a simple decision. How someone else perceives these beliefs is up to a plethora of variables- I don't need to be in combat with people about these. We collect our own kind consciously and unconsciously through tribal behaviours, external representation, mannerisms, energies and many other associations and familiarisations and it is a natural part of this that at times we grate upon each other. How we deal with this is the true measure of ones metal- making a remorseless decision doesn’t have to psychologically or physically affect another person- we can simply decide to be honest about our position, disclose this and make actions to disengage. We always have choices toward aligning our sympathies and principles. They take but seconds to implement and some of the most powerful and profound are when choose a ‘no’ rather than a ‘yes’.
🇯🇴 The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 🇯🇴
Civilised, gracious, genteel, cultured, historical, expansive, and sophisticated are only a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think to describe Jordan and the unrivalled authenticity and kindness of Arab hospitality.
Jordan is chic, and Jordan is very, very special.
Firstly however I would like to personally thank all the magnificent souls who took their time to share with me their energy, knowledge and the wonders of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Arab culture. To His Majesty King Abdullah II and her Majesty Queen Rania. To Eugene deMarco, Her Excellency Lina Annab, Nadine, Mohammad, Ghazi, George, Raja, Hamsa, Samer, the Royal Jordanian Falcons. To the guides, and the fantastic hospitality from the accommodations I stayed… and special mention to Munther for being so immensely accomodating to our last minute changing of plans… tollerance level shinning golden! I was delighted and privileged to have the opportunity to come and discuss business endeavours and creative opportunities with you all. I am thrilled to find Jordanian resources well suited to the projects I have under development and to additionally find these facilitated and supported by like minded passionate individuals with vision; these are unique and valuable circumstances.
🌟🌟 🌟 🌟🌟
Earlier this month I was delighted to be invited to attend a private audience with His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania. My artwork ‘Mandala’ was purchased as a gift to be presented to the King and Queen.
A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing all existence. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.
The term appears in the Rigveda (an ancient Hindu collection of Sanskrit hymns) as the name of the sections of the work, but is also used in other religions and philosophies, particularly Buddhism.
In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space. They are used as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
🌟🌟 🌟 🌟🌟
Before I get on a roll, lets additionally clarify a little of the miss-information floating around about this country and locale though yar. I know first hand what it’s like to be geographically miss-located by association. New Zealand often gets attached to Australia (nooo.. we are not that little island down there- that’s Tasmania) or mysteriously placed up there with Switzerland in Europe (I know… it sounds a little like that doesn’t it lol), Jordan often suffers being lumped in with ‘troubled Middle East’.
It. Is. Not. It’s a forward thinking, safe, developed and delightful culture- quite unique unto it’s own.
It’s tight quarters, with Syria and Lebanon to the North, Iraq to the East, Saudi to the South and Palestine, Israel and Egypt to the West- this area is one of the longest populated anywhere in the world. With artefacts and cultural remnants dating back over 10,000 years, this family has long standing provenance. One, which I would like to point out over those with a mere 150 or 300 years of colonisation; a bit more experience in living together. I balk at the audacity and arrogance of those with less experience and their endless opinions about what is happening in this part of the world- those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones- certainly not at those who have foundations that go back as far as these guys do.
I’ve realised some rather interesting things in my time here in Jordan and they pertain to how we interact and empower each other.
My culture’s conflict has an awful lot of basis in possession. It dawned on me one day in Amman that this really is not the fundamental kernel of what is happening here in the Middle East. Conflict has basis in interpretation; in semantics, in the details of how things are understood- there’s a lot of intellectualisation about particulars.
I was fortunate one afternoon in-between my scheduled meetings to have the opportunity to visit the Jordan Contemporary Art Museum. It followed on to being invited to attend workshop afternoon with visually impaired children and the opening of the museum's latest curation (above). It was here I had a fascinating conversation with an Arabic calligrapher (1st & 2nd photos) about the details of Arabic language. Taken by Burmese in the weeks prior while travelling in Myanmar I had also fallen for Arabic- phonetic sounding/ symbol based recognition languages are my thing. In two days I had accrued the basics but was totally captivated when this man explained to me the following: marks placed above the script can define whether the word or concept is imaginary or literal.
This blew my mind- he went on to discuss with me the formalities of brush strokes, the precise rules applied to the inclination and angles of the marks; the spacing; the thickness of line. Reminiscent of the formalities of Japanese script I was totally and utterly absorbed for two reasons- one, the beauty of the thing in itself and 2, because it gave me insight and perspective to the psychology of how this culture thought and the rules and parameters they feel are apparent within their historical structures.
This meeting also coincided with me finding great similarities in what is considered ‘Contemporary Art’ in older established societies and the techniques these places are using to teach young minds. That afternoon I was able to discuss observations from my travels and my experiences with scholars and those to the learned level of doctorate. Both in India and in Jordan, there are distinct categories of expression which were, and are, considered modern artistry. A derivative Cubist style, a geometric block coloured and textural expression, loose lined sketching, naive illustrative figurative works, poetic form cast in bronze, narrative illustrations upon ceramic.. and a few others. Consistent and parallel themes, and in some ways this could be construed as formulaic demonstrations of beauty. ‘This is considered acceptable’, ‘this is considered Art’, ‘this is how we do it’.
Watching the children in the workshop I considered my finding from India, now in Jordan and compared them with my culture. Was history repressing the ability for those here in older cultures to break out of set appreciations of ‘Art’ and expressive formula? Are these kid encouraged to make what they feel or are they being told what it should look like? How does a culture steeped in historical ideals of what is good and what isn’t take on radical and unusual deviations from this.. how does a new generation influenced globally by different media find a platform where their work is considered ‘good’ outside what is currently appreciated and has been so for many, many more years than elsewhere, and how does a young person wanting to be educated and find success within a system find a unique voice without being rejected from the structure which he/ she is being taught within… If I thought my country at times could be rigid and conservative I had just encountered a whole new challenging system. I also thought- how does a relatively new culture establish avenues for recognisable distinction within creative expression and how do we educate people to the long term values of craftsmanship and creative outlet?
That night I was wandering the streets down Rainbow Road and I was people watching; a favourite past-time. When Jordanians interact, it’s hard to perceive what is going on within the interaction. Ok, there can be hand waving, there can be different intonation and louder speech- but the energy exchange between two people, on average is very, very even. (* note- hand waving, yelling and loud talk does not mean the person is radical or violent- it just means they are impassioned &/or demonstrative- thanks media for mudding the water on that for viewers) It’s hard to tell who has the upper hand shall we say. Often when we communicate- we can see a dominant party, or one that is submissive to the others, or the appearance of power-play being employed. Culturally we have different ways of coming together anyway- like in India, interaction can be all balls blazing from the outset and then we work our way back down to mutual respect. In Arab interaction- there is much less crackle and fizz and more even respect.
The following day, I had the opportunity to talk with a man further about my observations. I’d watched a particular theme play out two times in the morning which I’d pointed out to him- once between two men at a kebab stand and another time between another group of men setting up stalls at Jerash. What looked like from the external display to be some type of heated discussion about a thing (the lamb and the beef in the first case, and the items in the stall in the second) was actually about the particulars of the details. The first men were discussing the better qualities of the meat and the second the particular correct placement of the stand and the items. Less literal about the stuff and more about the particulars… interesting spill over into the religious quarrels surrounding this area also.. it’s not about the Quran, it’s the interpretation of the messages within yar..
Is this not what happens as we get older? We get more particular about our perspectives, more entitled to our point of views, more rigid in our perception of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’; ‘good’ and ‘bad’ interpretations… we get grouchier about being confronted about these boundaries being criticised also…? It’s a hard thing to break out of system when we nit pick the details and impose controls yeah; but is this not a battle that we as humans have a daily self responsibly to consider opposing or contesting? Why.. I’m always asking why… and I can be juvenile of mind. I flick my concepts around play them out and I don’t settle for what are other people's ideas; I refuse to feel obligation or duty to ‘be’ or think a certain way. In other words- I don’t believe the hype and I don't do what I’m told is ‘correct’… oh what a luxury huh. Yes, it is a luxury to have had the opportunity to grow myself up making choices to being able to think & ultimately behave this way.
Above- Petra. A very special mention to ￼Adeeb Alhasanat from Jordan Inspiration Tours who's knowledge about this area is vast and is a fantastic representative to impart information about the culture of Petra and it's former and current inhabitants- I highly recommend him and his company.
These older cultures on some levels can be rather serious and I considered why I assimilate so well with the playfulness of Asia. One, the belief systems align more to my values and two, well, they are far more ‘young at heart’ in a way. Creativity and that inner child come hand in hand. In order to think outside the box we need to be avant-guarde, we need to be able to take calculated risks, and we need to not be confined by constraints, rules and judgements. It’s very hard to do something new and revolutionary if people freak out about stepping outside what is established or recognised as 'acceptable'.
Ironically- my culture, although it appears to be laid back and relaxed (touted as a breeding ground for 'creativity') employs the highest level of psychological warfare I have ever experienced in any culture, anywhere in the world. Control comes in dangerous and subliminal form and restrictions are imposed everywhere. Here's an interesting thing though- it’s kryptonite for most Kiwi’s to not be liked; to not keep the waters even in their social systems and community; we don’t like obvious displays of conflict. We excel internationally because of this- we work hard and we are amicable but there’s a rather sinister side to all of this too- we are incredibly manipulative. Our society has many controls, but we learn how to to navigate and break them, not very pleasantly this comes with learning how to navigate a person also, we like put downs, we like perfectionism, we like making people do things one way and not show above this and we like blame and excuses. We have a problem with celebrating success and we undervalue people and skill... especially the accumulative and transferrable varieties. We perpetrate the mistruth of ‘luck’ and miss-inform people that we can all achieve profound fortune. That's a heavy load- yes, choice defines our direction, but I in no way believe we can dictate all of our decisions- we must work from what we have in the current situation. Ripples- build upon ripples. Is it any wonder our society is un-empowered- we constantly feel we can’t get it ‘right’, people feel bumped from all angles- internally and externally. Personal greatness comes in many forms… some doesn't look too flash to others…
Interrogation- predominantly utilised upon ourselves is reflective of intellectual snobbery and subliminal superiority. It creates crippling self-doubt within ourselves and creates shockwaves of insecurities within others. Through this, we penalise those less ingenious from trying to just get the job done in the manner they choose to try and do it. Not eating the right diet? not going to the gym enough? not doing the ‘right’ things with our kids? No rego, no permit, no degree, no prior experience... just not sure? With all this external expenditure of energy into other people's business or the surety of our own, it’s no wonder we feel depleted and in need to reach for things or people to fill these voids & cracks.
Was it Tom Cruise's character in Eyes Wide Shut that said something to the effect of 'morals are the obsession of the middle class'...? A heinous statement in some respects but one with validity all the same. When you're hungry, desperate or have 'nothing to loose' or, you make the rules, or can buy your way through them, you're not obsessing about strategising alternatives. Get the job done the way you choose with certainty. Self doubt, complacency and indecision is more harmful than anyone else's opinion.
Welcome Home.. I’ve been in New Zealand under 4 1/2 minutes, arriving in the wee hours after traveling long haul from Amman to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Brisbane, Brisbane to Wellington. I’m hangin’ out at the baggage carousel; a lady walks past me and remarks about my attire. 'Well ain't you underdressed for this city love, you’re going to have a few problems’ she remarks towards my sleeveless red playsuit and referring to the nipply temperatures awaiting outside- to which I happily giggle and reply 'I'm a Wellingtonian honey; we're built tough & we like it chilly!’… inwardly groaning and in the back of my mind thinking.. umm nup, this has actually been perfect for travelling 25 hours..?!
Excuse me?- Who are you?! And why should I even feel compelled to gratify you with a response? Imagine if I hadn't been from Wellington- what a way to say 'Welcome!' no?! You are certainly not really worried about my comfort for you would have offered me a coat, and if you had wanted to have a conversation, I believe you may have slowed down rather than commenting as you walked past- jealous perhaps; can’t quite bring yourself to say- ‘I like what you are wearing’ so feel the urge to drag me down to gain a little power play.. yesss now I think we’re onto it.
Ironically this little interaction was actually perfect timing towards my mullings and musings.
Psychological warfare, power-play, control, interaction, expression and identity. I’ve learnt amazing things and recognised validity in my observations over the years in the last three months, but unfortunately they don't play out too great for my loved homeland.
The four main controls: ‘Woe is me’, ‘Interrogator’, ‘Intimidator’ and ‘Aloof’. Fascinating strategies huh… but lets take a closer look at what these really mean in society today shall we, because the outward use of these on each other is really nothing to what we are doing internally either. We like the concepts of doing good here in NZ and of karma, but we are crap to ourselves… that’s just as bad as hurting another yeah nah yeah!
The example above was a rather timely illustration of ‘Interrogator’. Putting someone else down in order to gain a feel good boost by taking a stance of superiority. I feel this lady felt she had it all together- she was prepared and had supremacy to my inadequacy in her eyes. Strategies employed upon another give an interesting indication towards what that person likes to pull upon themselves also- for many people don’t differentiate between personal/ professional, internal/ external, expressive/ intellectual. I feel for her children, I feel for her colleagues, I feel for her- my, my her standards are high.
Unusual? No. In Kiwi-land this type of interaction is rather common place. People’s level of interactive entitlement and self-righteousness is higher than anywhere else in the world; it’s not unusual for people you've never met to lean over and interject, fling a passing comment or add their two cents worth. MOST times these are kind, helpful, funny or build a sense of camaraderie, but they can be quite the opposite also and it’s out of your control if and when it’s going to happen to you. There can be something rather disconcerting about having to deal with this when ya leave the house. This doubt, these seeds of uncertainty can become poisonous to those who can remember and collect them. Feel those daggers in your back when you're dressed to impress? They might was well be real in this country because I would argue- that sensory pain does far more longterm damage than what that wound feels like in actuality because of how we comprehend and understand it.
Happiness and a sense of elation is a sign, recognised the world around of success. An outward display of personal contentment and joy; a thing of beauty and to be celebrated. In NZ this is actually a little backwards; happiness can become an affliction unless you build that hide tough- it's going to bring you some unusual challenges. Where joy spreads lightness among others in overseas environments- sharing a feeling of warmth, here, at times, it brings you the opposite- jealousy, criticism, envy and even more dangerously it incites people to sabotage or de-validate achievement. People take joy in breaking others and dragging them down. 'What are you talking about??!!- we are rated one of the 'happiest' nations in the world!'.. yes, apparently. Look around you, travel a little and compare, we're not- I don't know how we are measuring this statistic, but I can sure as f*&%k share that when you've been immersed in other cultures around the globe which ARE happy, when you arrive home there is a distinct and startling difference... and hey, these are only my impressions- perhaps you see another side :)
In NZ people are not valued- neither is individual skill- people believe in equality in a broad societal sense. We are brought up to think we ‘can do anything’; that anyone can gain the skills to be incredible. We are not built equal, I do not believe in this concept- some have talents, skills or natural dispositions that others cannot acquire. Through years of hard work and selection, choices and direction we can grow and hone these building blocks- but it is not by accident or ‘natural selection’ that some rise to greatness or find personal contentment. Unfortunately there is a common acceptance in this society that some are ‘luckier’ than others- this is not the case- some have fortune because they have worked for it, and they have figured out where there directions, passions and strengths lie... attributes still come with problems; and problems come with attributes. I build my amazing life, my skills, my talents, my connections, my work, overcoming my problems and growing my ripples. I will not standby and tolerate people wanting to take that away from me, nor slight, demean or control others by not validating their achievements and growth; nor obstruct them for wanting to have more or be better. A little side note.. we don't get things we desire if we hate the people or situations that currently have them ;)
Twice in the last two weeks I have had conversations on the topic of 'wealth distribution' which got me thinking on a deeper metaphoric level. Wealth, value and success.. the internalisation of these qualities imo is far more important initially to a person's growth and vision than the external- yet it is often the superficial manifestation that people get hung up on. Obligation, duty, expectations to share- there are extraordinary pressures that can come with feeling flush let alone being flush; and the manifestations of luxury both external and internal. To be open, approachable and amicable; to achieve, to allow others access to our gifts, our energy and fortune- where do people receive recognition for the distribution of their spiritual or conceptual wealth? Sharing talent is the gift of those endowed with affluence (personal fortunes)... it can be found in places of 'poverty' and of 'hardship'. If society doesn't validate or celebrate 'fortune' and 'success' in her less literal manifestations; our extent of poverty is far reaching indeed. How do we enlighten people that 'wealth' is the responsibility of the individual? and how to we encourage people to value themselves and moderate feelings of guilt, self worth and obligation when there are excessive pressures to constantly give ones energy, ones resources and ones reserves?
We have interesting complications and they seem to be compounding quickly. Scarily- to undo this, the main work comes down with numero uno. Unhelpfully, people are scared to talk honestly about their feelings for it having consequence upon their jobs, their livelihood and their opportunities.. and well, there's not a lot of courage to speak out about being disgruntled or dissatisfied- the increase in cost of living doesn't just effect logistics it greatly effects freedom of speech. You want to feel personal achievement in a professional environment- well that ain’t going to come from a community where those cannot validate personal achievement within themselves. Here again, is why it is very important to define and follow doing the things you enjoy and that bring you happiness- personal sucess comes from ticking off and chasing those personal goals. I cannot stress highly enough my encouragement to those of creative and ambitious dreams- GET OVERSEAS and slide a 'Big Picture' jigsaw piece in there. Yes, I'm not encouraging fantasy, I'm actually working on a project which helps others who have desire and drive to do just that. Just as an artist has to walk away from an artwork to get space, reflection and perspective, a person needs experience in other cultures to get fresh outlooks on their life.
I love being in a country where I am respected; as is- as a human who is presented well and who is striving to do her best. Little things can make me really warm. Travelling around Italy and having chocolatey breakfasts with decadent croissants, strong ass coffee and Nutella makes my little soul sing- I shit you not that you can get raised eyebrows and little interjected comments eating this in NZ... shall I tell more stories?- God forbid you feed it to your little ones in public arrfg. The Nutella or croissant, perhaps, not the coffee... but well, kiddies in Japan love that also and that brings up a story about hitchhiking in the Land of the Rising Sun with a Bichon Frise ricocheting around a smart car filled with oversized stuffed plushie-toys being fed ice coffee from a bottle... the things I experience hehehe!! Even though I don’t personally drink booze, I adored walking into a petrol station where ya can buy fantastic bread, cheese, meats and alcohol to put together a picnic or dinner on the go. God I laugh at what would happen if we attempted to implement this in my homeland- we are not even able to drink a wine on our own beaches or in our parks… Trust issues eh... This investment into others wellbeing gets on my nerves- ‘it’s not good for you’ so this has been put in place- now adhere to it or else. Excuse me? I’m intelligent to make up my own mind thank you, and I don't need your opinion; nor should I be penalised if I find that my choice is incorrect, NOR should our past misdemeanours hang over us like noose impeding being able to give things another try within fair appraisal. Ie. just cos one dickhead ruined it, doesn't mean we all need to suffer ta, or just because something shyite happens doesn't mean a new legislation needs to be drafted. Life is about having a little naughty with the nice no?, and shit. happens. Responsibility… why does NZ feel it’s up to others to control this?
We encourage people to capitalise on ‘Woe is Me’, we berate ourselves internally using ‘Intimidation’ and ‘Interrogator’ about our diets, choices, decisions and appearances. We 'Interrogate' others psychologically and through other means to share and distribute their resources. We ignore and act ‘Aloof’ to those who deserve credit, we ‘Interrogate’ each other though email communication rather than resolving issues and conflict face-to-face and use litigation and fear strategies rather than just being personable. We control our society though ‘Intimidation’ by imposing intellectual superiority upon those of lesser means and we give completely inappropriate strategies to those less fortunate and then un-empower them when they don’t reach impossible ideals.
Ironically for a country that is built with pioneer spirit from all nations (that includes present tense- it takes a huge amount of this to emigrate here); people wanting a new system away from established structures; we have become more repressive than the lands we have departed from. Like over protective and anxious shepherds incessantly corralling and protecting our flock; we meddle, we worry and we leave nothing to natural order. Hey!- the flock is smart & the flock has grown.. there are sheep, there are wolves, there are rabbits.. hell! There’s the whole damn ark (lol). This strangle-hold will prove to do no good. It's choice that defines progression- if people are not enabled to make these in variation, for better or worse, growth becomes stereotypical and stunted and learning is formulaic and limited. 'What will be, will be'... super close to 'Inshallah' ("God (Allah) willing" or "if God(Allah) wills").. there is method to these statements; there's only so much a human can manipulate.
Self assurance and harmony comes from balance and a sense that one’s energy expelled is evenly replenished with energy gathered & consumed. In Western society we individually give an awful lot of this away in our interactions. We are taught to radiate outwards, but I came to realise while in Jordan, and through personal experience- we are not encouraged to develop the skills on how to reflect that back inwards or to moderate and reserve this technique. Our emotional intelligence is criplingly low. Those places with faith; the concept of a power bigger than ego on a big community scale; a power which can replenish and help a person with things that they themselves can’t manage, enables a person to have a link to that returning energy loop. It also helps us when we are not as far out on the ripples to find appreciation and solidarity within where we are, while getting to where we want to be- i.e that by continuing to do our best with what is present we can work towards a better future… this requires managing emotions i.e not freaking out, remaining calm and not throwing toys out of baskets or at others; constantly reframing back to what is good- even if that's minuscule.
Using a coping strategy or being involved in an addiction, to whatever it may be that a person wants to refill that void with (the feeling of being zapped mentally and /or physically) to top up their energy is the physical manifestation of trying to tie back in that replenishment of energy and love. It’s essential to learn about our emotions and feelings in order to do this- a little faith and trust is required in ourselves and in things working out ok. That ‘f’ word- I’m not just talking of a religious concept of ‘faith’- but if one chooses so, that may be where they find that link to love. Personally I find that link back to my beliefs of something bigger without being associated to a particular doctrine, rather to many and within my own conceptual developments (that includes the science and medical doctrine toooo); and within the activities that facilitate me being able to connect into happiness and a greater sense of lightness- the sea, the air, speed, movement, creative output. However, creative output has an awful lot of external energy expenditure associated- it’s historically well documented how this and addiction go hand in hand- how many artists, dancers, poets and other magnificent minds can we name who use(d) vices?- is it no wonder within cultures that radically think outside the box we are finding increases in coping strategies?! Plus, we can’t take away everyone’s strategies and not help replace them with better ones now can we??!! Smoking a fag takes a much shorter time than teaching oneself how to recognise the rise, fall and patterns of one’s anxiety now doesn’t it…. although imo, it should be my choice if I want to stay with the fag option to start with… everything in moderation consideration… and not everyone has the capacity to want to change.
Middle Easterners do not expel personal energy in the same format to Westerners- they are far more discrete and reserved- and I would say far more emotionally intelligent when it comes to a level of selection about how and when they radiate their emotional investment into others. We hold perspectives of ‘repression’ and ‘restriction’; we judge from our own West view because we only understand how we ourselves live and behave- taking their reservation for oppression; thinking our way is the best way to be- but I think there is a lot of method here which is very, very valuable and very misunderstood… and faaaar more developed. Oh how the media loves to wangle the burka & hijab- in Jordan, there are people of a great cross section of contemporary and traditional identity choices. Again, what is not chic about having things reserved for those we have selected of value to share with? Fascinating ideas for humanity innit when we start seeing how people have evolved socially to live together- for how we keep ourselves well, and for how we can come to understand each other much better and ultimately diffuse conflict and self-righteousness.
Conflict- we would like to say this is external. West; we like to point fingers over there to Middle East when we hear this word, but boy oh boy, I tell ya, we have this in far more dangerous form in our Antipodean communities. They might have the physical amphitheatres and places where gladiators battled, they might have flash points of war currently- but we all have created the psychological war grounds; the media of our criticisms; our ideals and projections upon each other; tell tales and mistruths of disgrace and disesteem.
Equality v balance. We seem obsessed with striving for the former and we are quick to pronounce other cultures which we perceive to not have these ‘rights’. I see far more value in the latter; balance, than the former. I vehemently believe in fairness but equality? We have different strength and weaknesses from physical to intellectual; we should strive to highlight and celebrate our power not deficiencies. Womens rights, roles and liberty… there are different guises in different cultures of these- just because they do not look like our Western format does not mean there is not balance there. The women I spoke to in Jordan in no way felt repressed and were angry about the portrayal of this within the media- as were my fair sisters in Kashmir. Their value in their communities and families was celebrated- no, it’s not the 'same' at times to their male partners and colleagues- but they’re praised and valued; recognised and celebrated for their skills making quality of living equations. And all of this is changing- with more choices, more exposure to opportunities, they are making decisions for themselves towards their dreams and education while incorporating these into their customs and relationships… that takes a lot of changes to preconditioning… that’s a lot for any human to take on. As I’ve said before- I’m the alien in this new land- it’s up to me to modify and take things on the nose if needed while finding a place where I hold my values and identity also while being open to new perceptions.. interesting balancing games eh. Queen Rania of Jordan is a shining leader in women’s rights, education and empowerment and her contemporary views and style, both of concept and presentation, is leading strong and unfettered Jordanians into a bright and fertile future- God I admire this woman. Rome wasn't built in a day peps- good things take time.
The history within Jordan of previous civilisations is at times daunting, overwhelming and completely humbling. I was struck a little jaw-dropped-oogle-like in Petra, Jerash and latter in Rome. At the ancient city of Gerasa just outside Jerash. I’d come to an intersection (above)- a meeting place literally from the four points of the compass for traders to arrive from neighbouring countries and much further afield. As I looked down, the paving stones below had grooves; ruts from oodles of years of chariots, carts, barrows and feet. Humans for centuries moving over the place where I stood at that point- that’s a bit mind blowing when we unpackage it; people living, dreaming, doing things, loving, crying and evolving; millions of stories- all varied, all different, all unique. Coming present day, in 200 years, this progression, this evolution and this hunger for energy has taken an exponential curve upwards. We are all hungry, hungry for more-ness of everything... and even if you're not into the stuff- you're getting energy in and from other things, people and places.
There is just so much variation here- from pristine beaches to the red sands and majestic rock formations of Wadi Rum; the ancient ruins of Petra to the seaside of ‘Aquaba. The variations of colours from light aqua’s and gem coloured blues to iridescent oranges, peach, magenta’s, violet's and the soft creams of stoned cities to the eye popping red’s due to the the filtered UV light. The quietest city I have ever visited; Amman’s sounds of birdsong and the calls from the mosques reverberate in my memory with happiness alongside the irridecent red poppies- there is a calmness that permeates this location which is heart warming. From breathing in the oxygen rich air of The Dead Sea and experiencing bobbing like a cork in the mineral rich water, to flying upside-down over the desert in a Hawker Hunter fighter jet and an Extra 300L… I can’t articulate how much fun and excitement THAT is... especially when ya've got the controls weeeeeee!… all I’ll say is MORE MORE MORE!! =^+^=
There is so much vibrancy, there is so much LIFE! There is so much fun, laughter, warmth and value here; it’s so very graceful- I hope my writing defames some of the fallacies floating around and alleviates inner concerns about coming to Jordan to travel and/or conduct business. You have nothing to fear. It’s just yum… doooo ittttt.
New cultures, old cultures… when it comes down to it- biologically we are all made of similar stuff- BUT we have conditionings that are different; neural pathways and flash-points which are different. Varied orientations for energy needs and ways of sharing these; and contrasting ideas that we believe in- all this shapes how we can progress, what makes us tick or repells us and how receptive or defensive we are to new information. Communication delivery can make a ginormous difference- most people don't like being told they are ‘wrong’ or finding out that a thing or ideology they have believed in can be done a different way or that there are other means to an end- and people can’t do things when they are scared. This can be confronting stuff. If however, we can take the fear associated with change away; if we can show opportunity for discovery by loosening off a notch, we can make headway into areas of productivity and development. Fear of the unknown, fear of letting go, fears of not having enough… fears of others getting ahead further than we are… fears of not doing the 'right' thing... those feelings all lie inside not outside. We need to talk, we need to encourage others to have opportunities to get together to discuss face-to-face our ideas, or tribulations; our concepts and honest viewpoints; we need to mingle. Trust in our good judgements not panic at prospective terrors, trust in natural order (NZ stop freaking out that shit would go chaotic if it’s left to develop without being nanny’d) and respect the intelligence of our world inhabitants and individual decisions.
The more people experience suppression, the more people want change, and this shows foremost within our youth. If we are not educated; emotionally educated as to how to deal with the rollercoaster of reorientation and the personal confrontation of difference, we will only fracture our societies rather than grow forwards with solidarity. We are all Kings and Queens of empires- the personal spaces of our thoughts and emotional orientation, and ultimately the lives we live and the choices which define them. Act reverent, act with grace, act with faith in your decisions and be proud of what you have achieved and what you will make happen in the future. إن شاء الله
❤ ❣ شكرا جزيلا ❣ ❤
I'm fed up with the English language- it's retarding-ly constrictive and limited. It’s totally useless for describing the complex and finikity differences between feelings and impressions. Sanskrit, Japanese, Arabic, Burmese and countless more mature culture’s linguistic expressions have variations and multiples of similar-but-just-a-smidgend-different for the 'same' thing/ adjectives/ nouns, e.g. beautiful or rain. It’s this that initially drew my fascination with learning Japanese- there is just so much more colour to play with… and yep, I’ve now totally fallen for Burmese which I have started accumulating... I've been rather keen to get Mahjong under my belt too if anyone wants to learn how to play with me!
I feel ridiculous saying 'I love Myanmar'. I feel so much more than this over-utilised and rather boring and beige word.. to take advantage of a descriptive terminology from a loved one of mine- it makes me ’t w i t t e r p a t e d’. Yep- that mental image of Thumper thrumming his foot in adulation and enjoyment kind of comes close to what being here does inside of me! This inability to articulate the kaleidoscopic ambit of what ‘love’ can be and feel like, directly shines light upon our uneducated comprehension towards even the different types of ‘love’ one can feel yar?
By now you have probably ascertained it's rather hard for me NOT to adore somewhere or at least particular facets within- I have an ability to find the good in almost anything. But Myanmar, well, I'm speechless & surprised. She is utterly illuminating.
The unquestionably number one thing about Myanmar that is totally friggin rainbows and unicorns- the peooooople =^+^=
For me, here is the best of everything I truly adore and value. Keep in mind however, experience is entirely exclusive- this is my kettle of fish for my terms, the older we get, the bigger our back catalogue of what works for us becomes. I am exploring and creating upon concepts based on my unique purposes and decisions- not something I am being told to do or that is being presented to me by another. I live by following and listening to those around me and working from ripples that are created by these encounters. A year and a half ago I met a beautiful woman who enlightened me to three things, and coming here was part of the third one- I am beyond joy to be here and engaged in these experiences.
Myanmar's geography is diverse and exquisite. From air, the golden pagoda’s, monasteries and temples twinkle and glinkle below from fertile red iron rich soil in the North, to the hot planes of around Bagan and up into the mountains, around lakes, alongside rivers, waterfalls and in villages & cities. Mixing the best of hints of America and the West, India and Thailand with elegance and sophistication, quality, open friendliness and a genuine passion for fun and the enjoyable; Burmese culture tickles me in all the places I'm most tender. People, energy, history, positivity, beauty, value, fortune (of people and resources), creative expertise and excellence, reverence towards Nature, and a sense of pride and individuality which is admirable and elite.
North Mandalay Moto, Dee Dote waterfall, National Kandawgyi Gardens, Pyin Oo Lwin, filling' up & trying to cool down the tyres and motorbike in 43++ deg heat ;)
Burma is superb to travel around- flights are efficient, the roads are the best I have seen and ridden anywhere in the world, everyone is extraordinary giving in sharing their company, I love this. Hooowever..there are a few interesting things- there are no motorbikes allowed in Yangon, places often have two, three or four different and valid names, you cannot hire a car to drive by yourself and there are areas and particular places that are closed off to tourist view- and why not?! I asked myself- what’s not dignified about having a little something special hidden for only a select few or kept in private? There is a guide/ driver system to see things so if you like your taxi driver, take his card and make buddies. And for the moto- get thee to Mandalay and get ya leg over something!
There is a darker side to this for citizens of Myanmar however- they're freedoms of movement are purposely restricted within their cities and country. Motorbikes are banned in Yangon because the government believes they are linked to underground activities and criminal associations; there is no rail or ease of transport for locals to navigate this city either. When it takes a long time to get from A - B, it takes a long time to get things done, and when prices and currency are split into 'local' and 'tourist' the primary demographic that can afford to move is from outside the country. Flights have citizen and foreign national allocations and guide systems abound- Burma's cultural identity is unique and authentic.. but how much of this is because those at the top are taking it upon themselves to keep others in the shadows?
Cityscapes, landscapes, and the beauty of variation in Myanmar
USD has an interesting supremacy- it's interchangeable with Kyat and there are a few other thought-provoking influences… makes my mind connect little links in what’s happening with the military and governmental systems- we mimic those we admire. Driving is right roadside -with right drive cars which is kinda cool- yet, it's like India so 'right' is a loosely termed suggestion hehe… I have an intense fondness for being able to make a u-turn on a highway to go down the ‘wrong side’ to get to a fruit-shop selling green mango slices that are dipped in chilli powder. On commerce- prices stated, price required- there is no need to barter (in most instances- but ya may get a whiff of your leg being pulled in tourist spots) so please don’t hit Myanmar thinking it’s India or other nations where this is admissible. Myanmar is safe, Burmese are very fair, and I appreciate being able to show my gratitude to those in the service and creative industries by topping up what I remunerate people for. It breaks my heart that because of the value of currency in particular countries, the people within are at deficits to being able to save enough to travel and experience other nations- it is so very, very unfair that the world is beyond the fingertips of a great proportion of our citizens- you can see but you can’t touch, urrrg ;( As we know, not being able to attain something only builds the compulsion, for better or worse, to want it even more.
The further north I traveled from Mandalay the more I noticed influences from India. Actually, more North stirred a great affection within me- I haven't left yet and still I can’t wait to come back and explore further. Luscious gardens, manicured farmland and back roads of a motobabe’s dreams. The reflective windows and coloured houses reminded me of Kashmir and cuisine started to take in the funky mix of Indian, Burmese and Thai which is completely up my alley- so.seriously.damn.good.
Fear and Self have been concepts in the forefront of my mind in the last week. My culture (and I’m not saying this isn't found here- it’s everywhere in different proportions wearing different guises, I’m doing a comparison between contrasts) is conditioned to think of the worst, plan for the worst, tell each other about the worst, drop a pill and remove the worst, take excuses for the worst… I believe we’re actually bring calamity upon ourselves by doing this and our anxiety, mistrust and cynicism impedes our abilities at openness, compassion, empathy and ultimately success. Perhaps a real (ok totally simplified) example would help- in my country we bundle ourselves up in layers of protective gear when riding motorbikes, playing sports and doing all sorts of other things (even overly protecting our youngsters)- we’re all about ‘insurance’ or ensuring ‘safety’ and looking after numero uno in order to go faster, bigger, further… Yes, there is a different psychology at play which gives merit to this attitude- people aren’t as careful with each other as in Asia- i.e respect levels of road users is different yada yada- but where are we going 1} with all the inflation, pushing, rush, self entitlement and 2} with being overly fixated on the negative what if's and making people do things a certain way aaand 3} with our obsessive need for self preservation?
In order to be a better explorer, I got to grips early on with death, safeguarding and risk- factors that are of no imposition to my desicison making, but thoughts of process and/ or consequence. It's the desire for living that keeps me alive not the fear of death or pain or hurt- that just brings it all the more into focus. That physical harm, that's actually totally minimal in comparison to the phycological barriers of what I'm really pushing through- insecurities, rejection, anxiety,,, the chunky stuff. I do my best to mindfully make choices that reflect what I'm hoping for and where I want to be. However, I can be critical, overly analytical, egocentric, nit-picky about details, and because of my history- I am well acquainted with the four strategies of stealing power (Woe is me, Intimidation, Aloof & Interrogator), and hold high standards and expectations upon those around me and myself; Mindfullness includes eeeeeverything, it's not pick & choose. I'm very proud of how far I have rolled from the tree considering what has happened to me and what I have had to un-condition myself from. How many of our traits that make us successful, if directed into the wrong situation, steal energy from another in order to do this?
Challenges and tribulations have to happen in order for us to learn and test our metal, it’s not about trying to prevent these things all the time and it’s not about blaming the ‘system’ when detrimental things do happen- we must encourage others to dig deep- there is almost always a bigger message for the individual in there. No-ones got the full package of anything, because just by having a particular trait, means the opposite is lacking unless one has decided to develop this also. Some of us may split ways in this type of metaphysical thinking and that’s totally cool, but I’ll share something I see, the patterns the world around of those with happy fulfilled lives, and those in troubled waters have basis in belief.
In Asia, people just get on with it in whatever way ya want to roll that in, and they are not neurotically ‘worried'- I’m totally attracted to that. I had to train myself out of an upbringing that told me to worry about everything. It's meant I'm rather passionate about encouraging 'dem apples to not drop next to the tree, rather to roll all the way down the hill, through the river and into the next forest!! I really, really like watching how everyone can do things slightly differently yet all get to an end goal together- there is harmony within this. I need more time here, I want to dig deeper, I want to learn more than just what three weeks can give me hints towards, because I’m better here, and this in turn means I'm better to those around me also. Extreme luxury to me is the fortune to take these opportunities. Myanmar is so energising, inventive, constructive and fertile (totally in awe of peoples motivation in 42+ heat!). I haven't felt as safe anywhere in the world as I do here- and actually last night as I was wandering around- I realised there are no homeless- an interesting indication of a society being able to get things balanced ethically. There is a fizz within this land of people being up to things- citizens in Myanmar have purpose.
Most humans resort to increasing their own personal energy by a manner that was ingrained or passed down to them; we all at times psychologically steal it from others- often unconsciously, this type of mental warfare underlies all human conflict. We at times feel the need to control and dominate each other. I have lived a life which has had extreme experiences of being on both sides of the fence within this type of abuse and strategy. Through interaction we can either be empowered or discouraged; powerful or weak depending on what is happening. We humans then like to turn to one’s advantage the dynamic in order to facilitate a phycological boost. This need for control is ultimately because we want a feel good pick-me-up, or because we want to keep getting a ‘hit’ from a person or interaction. This give-and-take if out of balance can become dangerous. Restricting, limiting, or trying to predetermine someone's emotional response; ultimately manipulating another's spirit and freedoms, is completely counterproductive if we want to achieve intimacy, fellowship and solidarity. Many relationships transition and fizzle or eventually turn into power struggles; we connect our energies and then fight over who is going to control it, or we use what is available and then require something different, or, one of the parties becomes no longer invested or disinterested. The loser of this battle always pays the price. Older societies; places which have faith and resonance, have a sociological advantage upon others with achieving happiness because of this type of ‘feeling’ and interactive play; an artistry and ability to let interaction flow and develop through spiritual companionship rather than competition.
A little side note to that- I encounter an intriguing variety of tourist on my travels in the world which attend other countries sites of worship. Ones that sometimes come with many judgements- ‘Hurmph! NEON- WHY would you incorporate this into a beautiful historical temple??!’. ‘Humm, taking photos on your iPhone- disrespectful!’. ‘Grr, giggling and laughing with the children- really??!’… and the funny thing is, I sit, and I wonder- and I giggle, because I think, ‘wow- all these self imposed restrictions; all the 'rules'; all the inflexibility.. don’t you see the negativity is the square peg in the round hole; that you’re flowing upstream not the other way around? A wise woman once said to me seven or so years ago 'Take the path of least resistance', I didn't get it at that point- I was surrounded and conditioned to opposition and battle, but I get it now; it stayed with me and I implemented new choices underwritten by this ideal, and as they accumulated, only good flowed from them. Faith is in essence about holding hope for the better- it’s a rather fun and enjoyable process. I love Asia’s sense of playfulness and integration. Why would you think that we are allowed to want to seek beauty and value in cultures outside our conditioning, yet those cultures are not allowed to seek and desire beauty out of theirs? Everyone likes the green grass on the other side no?
Humanity likes to get a little jacked up from time to time. Whether that’s on booze, or tea, sugar, cigarettes, betel or paan chew, marijuana, Tramadol or coke.. or even just getting high off a cool meeting. I find an interesting level of hypocrisy or unawareness within some travellers of things that they despise from their homeland, yet are totally ok with within their new environment- they don’t see it’s just the same thing in a different package. Some are hellbent on criminalising people who smoke hooch or methamphetamine in their homeland, yet your cabbie here is high on betel all the same… oh but you're ok with that now cos it’s all exotic? Why ya not extending the same curtesy to your fellow human when you're back on turf huh? Without independent thought I would never have experienced the plethora of things I have, and followed the paths that I decided I wanted to explore- but the ‘naughty’ stuff? Well tbh, that was where all the best learning came from or initiated me to undertake steps to change. Independent thought can be a bitch- it gets ya into unusual places and can alienate a person from their social systems, yet it’s precisely the same trait that means they’re going to find and do things a totally different way and have the capacity for unbridled brilliance.
Acceptance of sensory expression, or a more mature understanding about the natures of life without being prudish; sex, touch, personal space, what we do that’s healthy or a little not so; just doing things cos they feel nice; this stuff is so different here in Asia to my homeland. Doing something a little subversive doesn’t mean you are a bad person or not part of a functioning society- your working for progression not perfection; + you've gotta have spunk & intelligence to be curious and go against the grain. Perhaps people are less interested in squeezing people into boxes here because they understand far more boxes- they certainly have words for them. Why do we alienate others except for not understanding those parts of ourselves? and a little off tack but on the same stream further along (because it’s tied into how we help a person undo something that has become less productive) Why is the compulsion towards financial gain given priority over enjoyment?
Tourism love and hate: In some ways I am responsible for undermining and changing this beautiful land and that makes me uncomfortable so I do my damned best each day to make sure that my influence is positive- but even this is an oxymoron of a type- we see something we like and we want to mimic and replicate these things. All around the world we are influencing each other by interacting- we can be in remoteness and yet we pull out our iPhones and connect into WIFI to chat and touch base with our buddies on Insta the world round saying ‘oooOo ahh! Look, look, see, see, I love, I like, I don’t, I feel.. listen to me’- never before have we been so persuasive. I hear of communities here selling artefacts and heirlooms in order to capitalise and purchase items of Westernism and this make me really sad- yet why not? We humans are lusty- it matters not what the ‘thing’ is- we have every right to want to progress in any manner we see fit- my issue is that without education and encouragement towards being proud and protective of difference, we’re all going to slowly become homogenised. Rebel against the system? Yes- but as I have said before, the systems are mighty subtle and subliminal these days- the biggest are internal.
I admire Burmese for holding true to their distinctiveness and creating unique hybrids- the fashion, the food, the societal, religious and creative processes are sooo cool. Yes there is influence from all around, but here seems to me to have got the oil and water mix just right- Burmese are self assured and they are carefully selective. I like that- it reflects a mindfulness and respectfulness that I hold in high esteem.
Some of us see and feel the world a little differently, I see colours and a type of energy in tangible form and I have met others over the years who have similar skills of perception- it is only a matter of time until we will be able to measure this. The Monroe Institute is an example of an establishment pioneering discoveries through thinking and feeling outside (and all around and above!) the box. Through this understanding, as some of us have already grasped, we will be better at helping ourselves and those less fortunate. We will become increasingly more attuned to the buoyancy and play between the mind and the Universe and more empathetic to the value of people and places; our collective conscious of the physical universe will transform. We will accept that certain people and locations radiate more or different energies, and we will fight with fervour to protect the value of old natural environments like forests and places of archaeological, social and cultural significance. We are getting there- there is a powerful and constructive movement towards this type of development happening. Without gaining expertise within these traits, humanity will not be prepared to take the next step in evolution; of exploration and ultimately advanced colonisation and interaction with the unfamiliar; new environments, new materials and new organisms.
It's in the details- architecture, art and gorgeous things
Going back in history nearly 900 years we left a place where ‘God’ (insert many, many names in here) and the concept of a higher power was clearing defined or told to us. Buuut we got curious, we decided there was a bigger picture, we were missing something and we started exploring and questioning our world and doctrines. We decided we needed to make our world more comfortable and we wanted ‘proof’ in things before we would believe in them because our curiosity came coupled with a sense of rejection from that which had seen so stable and solid. We progressed, we fashioned contraptions, we made things, we discovered industrialisation and that we could use ores, minerals and materials to create mediums and make instruments. We invented power sources, systems and fabrication. We stockpiled, we collected and we distributed. ‘Progression’- the desire of self for security… but we lacked Truth, we were missing a puzzle piece and our obsessive drive to conquer and create comfort left natural systems purged and polluted. ‘The apex of cultural motive’- those who are awake can see through this fixation and past what others call ‘coincidence’ or ‘luck’. We are here to evolve but we are designed to do this while protecting and nurturing those things; those people; and those energy sources available- living within means not excess. All we need is less, we have within ourselves far more than most realise- if we can decompartmentalise our fears, we can convert them to adour- and this transformation creates a powerful volition- we realise we no longer need control upon others or material goods to fix/ fill/ or restrain these voids- we fill up from within and we are at ease with the flux of replenishment and use that occurs between each other. We additionally find that our thoughts coupled with temper can quite literally manifest to create our desires, directions and opportunities.
When we can define what a person loves, we also have insight and the power of deduction to ascertain what a person hates; with this information, we can not only build a person up and encourage them, but we can also manipulate or undo them. With so many becoming increasingly lax about how much information is available in the former mode, I wonder if people were encouraged to 'dislike' things as much as 'like' them, they would be as keen to give people power over their persuasion. Humanity is becoming more aware of how our emotional orientation can quite literally invest propulsion upon another for better or worse, but we come to a split in viewpoints. Ones which have similarities but also the capacity to incite enormous hostility; those of religious doctrine, and those of spiritual self discovery. Without empathy and acceptance of difference and the validity of contrasting opinion, we will forever be locked at a roadblock.. yet change all starts within snuggled up for a hug with a desire-for-the-better, one adjustment, one little step in a new direction.... I can't affect on mass; I can't stop war in Syria, I don't have sway upon new policitical or social directions, but I sure can turn my life around and help those around me to do the same. When it comes down it, there is no-one to manage anger, indignation, irritation and rage except for the person experiencing these feelings; THIS is what we need education and encouragement towards- this is ground zero of building love and sharing that penut-butter-and-jam with our international family; stripping away fear and persecution, and filling it with open ended comprehension. It takes ripples, accumulation over time of ripples, quite possibly generations of change of those showing those coming up a better way and teaching ourselves to validate beauty and worth within us, and within what is around us.
Connection, interaction, communication, relationships, interrelation, cultural similitude and difference, value, protection and development of natural resources, recognition and celebration of beauty and diversity; that flawed is perfect- all sound too Utopian? It’s already here if we have the capacity to change our mindset and take personal responsibility for our ideas, energy, direction and influence upon ourselves and others.
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Mind. Blown. ✔ ACHIEVED
Three weeks ago I got whiff of this place called Gulmarg way up in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas in Kashmir. ‘Snowboarding in India?!’ I thought, ‘F#$& yes, now this sound fierce’. A place of publicised civil and political unrest with a contrasting culture; the location of the world’s highest gondola and where I could also partake in my Winter passions… lets. get. there. I decided. Here comes the Wild West of snow locales!
I had other motivations also. I had Muslim friends as a child and have many who practise this religion, but I have never had the opportunity to visit or stay within a predominantly Muslim community. With all the misinformation, fear mongering, benightedness and prejudice floating around about this particular ideology and associated customs, I saw this a golden opportunity to be acquainted with the unfamiliar. Kashmiri are desperate for liberty- something I hold very dear and I am interested in what is happening culturally within this environment. Unusual situations come with surprising, valuable and at times confronting lessons. I appreciate my freedoms even more now than I have previously and have addressed personal and societal concepts about desire, superiority and satisfaction which have been mighty interesting. I can empathises with Kashmiri’s fight for the next step up. Greed/ desire for better, different or for extra/ materialism/ indulgence- they are really close relatives aren't they.. I am compelled to seek, experience, and learn more.. does my love of variation, new connections and circumstances come from dissatisfaction?
Gulmarg is demanding, growly and fizzing- it’s got tension here- yes there are military, yes this is publicised as a high risk travel area, and yes, this was not somewhere my government nor anyone I know recommended me to come to… but push this aside and it is vibrant, unique, super edgy in a sexy wild way and most definitely alive. It’s not everyones thing to want to explore a ‘volatile conflict area’… or this is how the media would want you to perceive it. There is froth here, but this simmering indignation; this fieriness is towards India and being marginalised- is NOT directed at the tourist. If you are a sensitive soul however, you are most definitely going to feel crackle- people are spirited, they are passionate, and it comes over in their interactions, in their business deals and in the energy of this part of Kashmir (back to what I was talking about previous post in mirror reality). BUT ya'll, Just because you are passionate and fired up does NOT mean you are dangerous.
Gulmarg is a winter honeypot; the world round these are places of hiked prices and financial exploitation; money for beauty- money for comfort- money for fun. You're gunna pay for white gold as we say. The tourist wants everything for nothing and the local is trying to make a living in an inflated and grossly disproportionate economic bubble. The environment is pimped, the local culture is peddled and captured audiences of both visitors and locals are often subjected to being corralled into activities and directions where they can be capitalised from. This being both financial and emotional. Due to the guide and union systems here, it’s a little harder than normal to dodge and manoeuvre through and out of these things- but tbh, it’s the way of life, people need to capitalise off their expertise and I took it as a learning curve to get used to.
Us NZdrs can be rather pig headed and bloody minded about wanting to do and know everything for ourselves, and as a culture we are not free with our cash- sometimes, I learnt, I need to sit back and pay others to take me for the ride. For a fixer on the initially jarring personal interaction in Gulmarg- word gets around. I am not intimidated to say no and hold my own.. A International chick stands out; it’s not a big place, and after a little while you gather some respect, a few decent buddies and approbation towards yourself after managing chunky situations; these I inevitably get myself into cos I want to do things differently, but well, earning stripes doesn’t happen sitting around twiddling ya thumbs. I’m not a package deal kinda girl- I’m in organising and feeling things out for myself at ground level and I wouldn't trade this (at times harder road) for anything- it’s where all the magic happens. A bit of patience and being genuine and fair to those around me irons out a lot of kinks.
Here’s a brief overview thanks to our friends at Wiki: Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir (subdivided into Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh divisions), the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
In the first half of the 1st millennium, the Kashmir region became an important centre of Hinduism and later of Buddhism; later still, in the ninth century, Kashmir Shaivism arose. In 1339, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, inaugurating the Salatin-i-Kashmir or Swati dynasty. Kashmir was part of the Mughal Empire from 1586 to 1751, and thereafter, until 1820, of the Afghan Durrani Empire. That year, the Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir. In 1846, after the Sikh defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh War, and upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the new ruler of Kashmir. The rule of his descendants, under the paramountcy (or tutelage) of the British Crown, lasted until 1947, when the former princely state of the British Indian Empire became a disputed territory, now administered by three countries: India, Pakistan, and China.
Below, Fascinating articles from independent Kashmiri magazines. click on a slide to enlarge and read. Articles are consecutive from top left.
India fought for independence from British rule, it’s not on unreasonable grounds which Kashmir sets it’s vindication. Sadly, as is the way with war, it’s the little guys who get smothered and trodden on while the ones at the top grapple over land, money and power- raping, killing and pillaging what is the true value within their kingdom- their own people.
Kashmiri culture and society is distinctly different to their southern ‘Indian’ country(wo)men. Kashmir wants emancipation from India, and I can see why- they are very different societies with quite different ways of doing things. They are fighting for the concept of freedom and but they also want the plentiful (who doesn’t play with this dichotomy in life?!); more tourists, more development, ultimately more lucre. More more more, everyone is praying for more. The Indian tourists visiting the temples, the locals for more tourists, cash, and weather; the tourists for powder, sex and hasheesh, the army for more control. Spicy huh.
As a Westerner- you represent freedom; you are the living embodiment of exactly what everyone wants, can you blame people for wanting a piece? Whatever a visitor feels ain’t nothing in comparison to what these guys are living in and they challenges they face for livelihood, identity and quality of life- and my God they work hard. Your bang for buck is going to stretch miles, isn't it cool to help out those who really, really need it in the process? I’d rather be here than a resort in Europe aaaannnyday and seriously this terrain? These conditions? This is what we snow bunnies dream of.
I love a good barter but the goal posts moving within business transactions frankly pisses me off. Arrangements that get ‘unexpected’ additions are not cool- so get uber clear about what is being traded- loop holes can be large here, get into serious details and don't be intimidated by try ons, being rushed or mark ups to buy things in advance ie: day passes. Breathe, have a giggle and walk away if necessary. Expiry dates are mysteriously 1/2 missing, ‘extra’ costs will be cracked at (NO you do NOT need to pay for the toll on the way to Gulmarg, even if there are demands for you to get out of the car and do so- it is part of your fare), actual prices expand and deflate (I just find my own fair price within this), and if the techniques of straightforward demand doesn’t work, then aggression, and attempts at intimidation can also come out. Joy of joys- well, wrong lady chaps, try all you might I’m not scared, but this could be formidable for the uninitiated.
Kashmiri mostly despise the Indian army presence, but they are also in a rock and hard place needing the Indian tourist dollar. Shitty case of biting the hand that currently feeds? That’s why I want to give you a real insight into this magnificent area with fucking awesome people and things to do- cos they need a leg up; this media bullshit spins unnecessary fear into prospective visitors. You are going to need kahunas to be here if you are a woman travelling alone- I’m not going to gloss that, if you are an inexperienced traveller who finds being assertive challenging I would consider other options- but if you are a powder hound, can handle a little wildness and want to get slapped sideways with a crazy ride of winter coolness, then keep reading.
In some ways you are safer here than anywhere else in the world- there is so much scrutiny on the situation and bad press it works in your advantage- people genuinely want to see you have a good time and prove to you that there is fun, well-being and value in this land, their resources and their relationships. Kashmiri hospitality is something else- it’s such an incredible thing. I have been treasured and cherished while here, and immensely privileged to share my time and form relationships with Kashmiri who have an unbridled fervour for life. They in turn have won a place in my heart- I admire these people and adore this land.
SOOOO much here is good! Gulmarg is extraordinarily beautiful. As I said previously, it is also the location of the world’s highest gondola at 14000ft. There are ATV rides; hooning around the white blanketed countryside past Indian military all bravado, camo and with obvious fire power gets the rebel in me extra thankful for her freedom and provenance. There is fascinating cuisine and cool little snack shops with inflated chip packets which make me giggle regardless of what’s going on. I can’t help wondering what the army would do if they simultaneously exploded… There are snowboarding trails, hiking routes, Heli rides, Hindu temples, day trips, snowmobiling, spa’s, and there are really really amazing people to meet. The calls from the mosques, the smell of the incenses and buildings, the distinctive architecture of Srinagar, the mischievous monkeys, the feel and look of the pashmina’s & cashmere, local embroidery and crafts; and the different ways of doing the basics are fascinating and illuminating (like why do we waste so much bloody toilet paper??! So many places in the world don’t even use it..)
Actually another point comes to mind of why New Zealand is not implementing a charge for foreign nationals to visit and view our wondrous land and sights and help pay for the infastructure that is required to look after them because of this increased traffic? (We came close twice if I remember correctly..?) Why should residents be on the back foot to enjoy our country footing the bill for others mess (this is not a blame it's a case of different social conditioning towards behaviour like littering), and not have top priority to the wonders within, and/or have capital to promote and invest into development within these areas and associated cultural faculties? Pretty much every other country I have visited I'm charged (often on top of this there are two quite distinctly different price brackets for traveller/ local) and I see it as a small price to pay in relation to what I can experience- I'm honoured to be there! This lack of desire towards financial remuneration mirrors a much bigger problem in the psycology of NZ- people do not value, respect or appreciate the merit and worth of beauty- whether this is our sights, our expertise, ourselves or our hard earned skill sets. It's not an icky thing to have a price to pay for respect towards a particular and unique type of energy a place or a person possesses- but this is a rather funny concept for those from NZ- money is a touchy topic. Mastery and splendour are qualities to be cherished and rewarded and this requires digging in financially- feel good warm and fuzzies are great and all, but when you really mean it- ya put your money where your mouth (or eyeballs as the case maybe) is... and are ;)
However, here’s one for your bag of tricks- as a solo woman you are going to want to be sensitive to how you are navigating the hordes of male guides. The ol’ smiles-cure-any-issue technique is not going to win a lady mega points here. Talking or interacting with other male guides in abundance (um, well, as locals go there ain’t anyone else TO interact with.. local women are not out and about as much as our international sisters) gives the impression of wanting to play the market. I had got whiff of this possible message early on, but it’s not that easy like by yourself travelling here- you are approached from all angles, all the time (try dealing with people hopping into your cab from the airport and working through 8 guides all at your door vying for your attention. Not to mention being constantly approached when you walk anywhere- get ready for lots of snaps; small price to pay for all the ones I take of where I am I believe- and it kind of tickles me pink.. as long as you don't grab/ push/ yell at me mucho gracias) and I’m not one to shy away, I’ve been conditioned to hold my own. An icier Eastern-block-reminiscent-bitchy-resting-face character from my back catalogue was rather useful especially in the first two days doing business and finding the lie of the land. Eye contact is my first line of information and if necessary, defence- and thank you, I make my own mind up on how my interaction follows from there- but well, it’s worth taking note of everything innit- she's got new rules here, ones upside down in some ways to others, but, well, if I wanted the same ones I could have stayed at home.
Ever seen a puppy encounter a hedgehog?? It’s kinda a similar situation. It used to make me giggle when my pup would bail up a hedgehog late at night in the garden- all slobbery, inquisitive and wanting to play- but just not really hitting it on the mark for the wee nocturnal mammal who’s like “whhaooh buddy! coming on strong!”. As an International woman you are going to get a lot of attention, but it’s harmless- a little freaky at times, but most peoples intentions and meanings are good- they really want you to pick them to have some attention.
There is a darker side to some of this though also: In a nutshell, emotional blackmail is a psychological-emotional ransom note that says, “if you don't do what I want then I will make you hurt”. This and ‘FOG’; terms coined by psychotherapist Susan Forward, are terminology about controlling people in relationships, and the theory that fear, obligation and guilt (‘FOG’) are the transactional dynamics at play between the controller and the person being controlled. In order for emotional blackmail to occur there must be four things present - a demand, a threat, a blackmailer and a victim. I encountered this at times subversively and at others blatantly (not of physical threat, but emotional)- there’s a lot of this type of thang in serious bartering, yet there is also another simmer here. Kashmiri seem to have this type of pressure from many angles. Emotional warfare comes hand in hand with it’s fraternal twin physical conflict… can you blame people for trying out the less overt tactic on each other and using it as a strategy to get what they want?
This all sounds rather heavy dunnit! It does get easier but being in the middle of a political shit storm with a heavy military presence and social unrest doesn’t have ‘easy relaxed living’ associated with it does it… once I got myself locked and loaded with the basics I was on a roll into quite possibly THE MOST rewarding, incredible, fan-fucking-tastic, extraordinary winter wonderland bag full of epic-ness I’ve had the fortune to experience. Sure, I could have made this easier and gone into a packaged box that had been prefabricated for me, but well, you don't end up going up Kongdoori mountain at night by snowmobile to a bonfire and wazwan feast with your new friends by going the ordinary route do ya?!
Here are some people of special mention that I would like to introduce- I’ve done the vetting, the legwork and I trust these guys. You can call on Tanveer and Mubashir to look after you, show you an incredible time and get you into and around all the hidden secret spots; they’ll circumnavigate the tourist shite for you too if you so direct BOOM. They are genuine and kind and adore what they do. Mubashir knows the Kongdoori mountain like the back of his hand and it is a joy to share their energy and enthusiasm for their culture and passions. Being with them is totally infectious thrilling fun.
LOGISTICS- If you can, bring your gear, if not your board or skis, bring your boots at least. I was lucky as it was Spring to get a board, but wore boots two sizes too big due to lack of supply- manageable for big sweeping runs, but tiring on on the lower cat traps. Get a decent wad of cash from the ATM just outside Srinagar airport exit and for the ladies, you want to bring your monthly products with you girls ;) Altitude sickness? No not reeeeally, but it does take getting used to. Gulmarg township is almost the equivalent of the summit of Ruapehu. I got tired, I got puffed and I found after day three I was feeling more on my game. Just getting up here from Srinagar is an adventure in itself! I had to giggle when I read this on powderhounds.com on the way here… I couldn’t write it better myself lol: ‘Travelling from Srinagar airport to Gulmarg, chaos reigns and road rules seem absent as your transport dodges all manner of obstacles including (but not limited to) oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, military and police checkpoints, herds of goats, wandering cows, packs of dogs, piles of sheep entrails, street stalls, markets, brightly decorated buses with passengers on the roof, diesel belching over-laden trucks, convoys of armoured army vehicles, three legged sheep, random debris, rubbish of every description, flocks of scavenging ravens and hawks, armed soldiers on foot patrol, auto rickshaws, horse drawn carts, human drawn carts and abandoned remains of carts.' Getting the picture?’… hehe… it’s baptism by fire baby- welcome to India waggle waggle, if you have not visited before- trust me, this is only the beginning ;)
If you are prepared for challenges but ones that come with serious rewards, then Gulmarg and Kashmir will pull our all the stops. But then the psychology of us snow lovers is hardy- we don't give up, we’re made from tough stock and take being beaten around a bit on the nose; we’re not going to let impositions impede our plans, and we hang in for the long haul- India, you are fighting with the strong-willed and proud. Yet these two thoughts come back to me time, and time again- both here and in South India. In life, we don't always get what we want on our terms all the time; there are things called compromise, graciousness, patience and compassion that pay mighty dividends and, is it not valuable to appreciate and care for what we currently have before wanting more?.. funnily enough it’s then we realise we always have more than we need.
There's something insanely addictive about this place, it can be so extreme, it can push you right to your limits on every level, but each morning I reset, and the fresh day brings new smiles, contrast and magnificent things to love and cherish. I will come back, late January I have got you eyeballed for another round- but in the meantime, I hope the summer months are peaceful, prosperous and rewarding for my friends from this fair land.
امن اور محبت
Have you ever spent hours of heartfelt investment with beautiful ingredients to bake something incredible only for it to turn out to be a bit of a hot mess?! (forgot the eggs? misread a step? snoozed through the timer…?!) Are you the type of person who gets pissed off, discards everything and dejectedly shoves it into the rubbish or do you dig in regardless with gusto and giggles and a little hope that it wont be as shite as it looks after glaming up the results to the best of your ability?! Nothing like having your fingers covered in something or turning a disaster into a memorable discovery huh?!
To me, India (a very loosely used term here; I'm in no way colouring an entire countries perception with a short time in New Delhi!!) has qualities of a similar incarnation and it's perhaps why I love it so much- I'm all about memorable discoveries. It’s filled with passion and best intentions but it really is a heaving, complex concoction! My experiences are full of surprises and none of the fears I myself, or others projected, but I totally appreciate how this is a very particular animal to take on- to me, it all makes sense in its own way and on its own terms, but it’s in no way ‘easy’ or well baked as such.
I see patterns, colour, fun, logic and love in things which others disregard or are afraid of. India is a wild ride taking you where she wants you to go- the only piece of advice which has had any relevance or truth here was given to me by my wise friend Craig “You know how this works, treat it like an acid trip baby; go with the flow and all will be fine; but fight against it and you will hate the ride”. Honestly, I can't think of a better way to put it. She will give you what you see- if you can spin that into a positive then you will be rewarded ten fold, but focus on the flaws and you could become buried under the tumultuous waves of the realities of life in her rawest, most topsy-turvy manifestation. I acknowledge my gratitude for life comes from a conditioning to accept and understand the chaotic which is a little more unusual than the average, but really, there is just so much to admire. To be honest- I think I love seeming pandemonium because of two things- madness always has method, and I love not knowing things and having new puzzles to figure out; familiarity is not my friend.
Relinquishment. She's your best friend here… and I would say, actually in life in general this quality is by far my most useful. Hold onto preconceptions or bring judgements with you to India and it aint gunna be pretty- there’s a lot of difference if you are being literal in comparisons between where you are from and where you now are. However, If you can find similitude below the superficial and straightforward and into the metaphorical and esoteric, you’ll be onto a winning strategy. Aesthetically, New Delhi is lush, filled with dazzling architecture, stunning parks and vibrant wildlife; she is one of the greenest and most stimulating megalopolises I’ve visited and fuuuucking hell she packs culture punch like no other.
Over the years, I have seen disgruntled travellers bent out of shape within complex environments or at times been so myself, and I have thought- 'this is more than ok for everyone around me, why can’t this work for me?' I’ve learnt, it’s not the place that is messy, it’s more often the perspective of my mind within it and that it is only chaotic until you can fill yourself with local logic- everyone else is managing a system, it’s just different to the alien (that’s the neebie) :) This spin is a good one to be able to whirl when I'm in a foreign environment wanting to do something intense like travelling by motorbike at rush hour after landing in a new locale- because it makes me reflect and focus on configurations and similarities- not what is different, if a person can do this then they are on a sure fire way to finding middle ground, comparability and ultimately a sense of peace. This technique, is in my opinion the 101 of turning furore into fun.
Perhaps a disclaimer is necessary here however- there are many other cofactors and choices I have made in order to sustain a lifestyle like this- I don't drink, I am an experienced judge of character, I've lived and learned about my boundaries through trial and error, I can distinguish structure and rules and have a sensitivity to the ones which can be pushed and ones which must remain etc.. this is what is a bit of a worry to me with things like Instagram, it doesn't tell a back story- people see a post like me hitting clubs here: depending on character, choices and lifestyle, doing this could be incredibly risky for another person… In most instances I keep well away from tourist traps, I rarely stay in hotels and am far more interested in what Mr & Mrs Smith and the locals are up to within my location and I attempt to assimilate into local customs and mannerisms as fast as possible. AirBnB is possibly one of the best things that has happened for expeditions- it has a huge impact on safety and affording a sense of privacy and relative anonymity while travelling; it also presents an opportunity to learn local knowledge and the in's and out's of where you are from your host and community- this is gold. Ya gotta be canny- in upcoming locations there is an increased risk of kidnapping- have you googled your name and seen what a person can view through this? Does your social media profile give the impression someone might pay for you? Are you lax about location tags and travel plans?.. interesting things to keep in mind huh. I play many characters while I travel depending on how comfortable I am within my environment and what level of attention I may want to attract- sometimes there is a lot of incongruity between actions and depiction. In life and especially in travel it can be advantageous to be mercurial.
There is a huge amount coming at ya initially in New Delhi- people stare, people attempt to rip you off, people have a crack at taking you for a ride, there are affronting situations and behaviour, things run on a very different schedule and order- why the fuck would you want to be there some may say?! Because, it’s totally fascinating, how within this it all works, and to be honest, it’s really not that bad- it’s all part of a game. Everyone is trying to make a living and however you roll it, you 'look' like a cash cow- that's the impression anyhow. I see it this way- the person might get to make a little extra off me (definitely it will be a little more than the average local pays)- I want to find a place where that isn't ridiculous. So they get some good karma getting a little extra; they may only have locals for the next week, and I'm a lucky bugger getting to experience new things and selvage some respect within the system. Seriously, no-one’s lost an eye- is it worth getting bent out of shape about? Adjust the strategy for the next round, familiarity takes time ;) You eventually get what you want, where you need to go on time, and somehow, soooomehow in some otherworldly manner the loops link in… but that convoluted path- well I see a lot of extra learning in that squiggly line and I can’t help but to keep wanting to push the envelope to see how far it will all go. Don’t you want to test yourself and see what you can appreciate?!
A societies driving and walking characteristics say a huge amount to me about the underlying psychology of where I am. India is all about looking forwards, self entitlement, shooting the gap and filling space to get somewhere in any way possible now now NOW; traits mirrored in the way the country is growing, some of the major social issues, the ways people interact and the overall development of this nation. I have total admiration for their highly developed sense of spacial awareness however- it's a remarkable and enthralling thing to be immersed within. I’ve seen treadmills being transported by bicycle, cows in the middle of the road, endless people crossing highways (including myself- it’s all in your confidence I tell ya) a windscreen being carried by a passenger on a motorbike, been nearly crushed on one occasion, watched children running along the dividers of the motorway playing balancing games and other wacky eyebrow raising sights, but it has order- yes there's lots of beeping, complete disregard of lanes and relative disregard of traffic signals BUT there are other rules, in someways much more natural rules of flow and hierarchy and of letting others know where you are and how you are coming. It works- you’ll get there- no-one is intending to die.
Positive mind, positive life, looking forwards not back... ok yeah yeah we hear this all the time but it can go waaay to far (this really kind of makes me cringe & I totally don't agree with that last one)… but I think the more important factor in this is actually the digging out of the positive by recognising and evaluating the negative. Yeah, I am a happy go lucky kinda chick, but I’m not living in a bubble. Without experimenting with, imagining and thinking through scenarios, both fabbo through realistic to horrifically bad, we are not facing the realities of life and the consequences within. I would be a very dangerous person within my activities if I hadn't cultured these qualities. This type of expansive recognition to what’s going on, in a way similar to defensive driving, brings about a more compassionate, prepared and balanced way of living to strive for. The actions and skills that are needed within this technique creates successful developments, but I am more and more starting to think in some ways it helps deter the worst of the worst… yes I know this sounds a little superstitious, but honest to God, if I have a creepy inkling and concept and I attempt to hide it, I can be most definitely sure in some way it will become an issue to deal with. Thinking though it, not getting fixated on it. I wonder whether a little of this thought pattern would be helpful here… going forwards with blinkers on leaves a lot of collateral damage behind you.
Self responsibility to moderate one’s expectations, to consciously let go of controlling situations and their outcomes, an ability to take opportunities for completely indirect results, seeing pleasure and finding enjoyment in the wacky, pointless, absurd and wild, honestly recognising humanities flaws (this pinpoints my personal ones also) and social trauma for clearly what it is and ascertaining what I have of value to invest productively within this situation are traits that are very valuable here. India in relativity can be seen as extreme; she is relentless and volatile but I feel calmed by this rather than agitated. When there is so much intensity it is actually easier to find a path through because you just have to; there is no other option. I find something satisfying about having craziness wash past and around me, yet being able to be centred within it (or perhaps I’ve just found my own kind?)- it makes me feel alive and very much within the moment. India is unapologetic, unabashed, totally accurate in it’s in-accurateness and genuine (at times in a backwards I’m gunna rip you off way until you flash your stripes- head waggle waggle) and I have boundless curiosity for people and situations that are authentic and daring.
The fashion, textiles and colours I have seen in Delhi outstrips anything I have seen worldwide.. the only close rival being Japan- they are simply out of this world- the detail, the embroidery, the colour... YYYY.UUUU.MMMM. These shots were taken at the exclusive New Delhi boutique Ogaan.
Recently a beautiful man wanted to enquire about where my thoughts take me; in particular what my fantasies are. It threw me a little- you see, I live them, they are eclectic, spicy, wild, racy and sweet; at times dirty, exotic & chaotic; at others clean, fresh and gentle. They are filled with experiences and people which mirror and reflect my visions; passionate, seductive, individual, provocative, unique, complex, brave, diverse and courageous souls who I treasure. I construct these concepts over months, years and decades, piecing ideas together, following things people say to me, testing out theories, clicking little desires together; working through and looking at apprehensions; by shaping these, they create my reality. Facing things, this is really important- I am blatant within myself at really being honest about what I am up to, what I am thinking, who I am and what needs to be worked on. Fantasies implies make-believe, I don't really understand this- mine are real; I go get them and they come to me.
In another instance a friend asked me who my work derived from; who inspired me. Again I was reflective and a little stumped at the time. I rattled off names of artists I loved- but it's on their own terms that I do so- my work does not look like theirs. And I thought.. yes everything comes from something- but my method is not developmental in such a literal sense. My experiences; my emotions inform my work much more than seeing things. As a I grow older these become more powerful and defined as I learn more about them. I see what is available to me at the time I am feeling creative and how this material fits best with what I want to express; is it tactile? Is it 3D, 2D? Does it challenge me or am I bored by it? Does it relate to a memory? What does it make me feel while I am playing with it? Is it evocative of who I was, who I have become, or where I want to go? These are the things I am asking myself. The technique of expression is then either a development upon an existing skill or requires me to take those attributes and apply them to a new one. My life has a dominant and distinctive strategy however- adventure/ experience, creativity/ production, planning/ plotting and round and round we go…!
A selection of Nepalese and Bangeli deliciousness- predominantly homemade, which ya'll can appreciate is the next level up on mindblowingly tasty made with looooove =^+^= Sushmita I ❤ your cooking!
For example: when I was in Japan early 2015, I knew I wanted to challenge myself to make very detailed large scale 2D artworks. Over those adventures I saw many detailed and amazing works and had exposure to new aesthetics. When I came home midyear I was in Gordon Harris and I came across Gorman graph paper and it reminded me of memories with my father and a fascination I had had with that paper as a child- I liked exploring these and my mathematical mind liked the concept of making images within a framework, but this wasn’t something I had literally seen while I was away. Pulling on my skills in cross-stitch, embroidery, drawing and other mark making techniques and previous talents, I melded them together to create a new process for me. What was different this time though was I wanted to challenge myself to have faith in not planning the composition (I raised the stakes on myself)- I just started making the marks and trusted myself to be guided to create arrangements expressing my thoughts as I went along- this playful, happy, intense, meditative and fun process was new and suited to my headspace, my identity at the time and my accessible assets. So many factors have to be in play for things to work out and I have to make these line up- people; access to resources, income at the time, time itself, my inclinations… to me this is where the true value of the work lies- in my adaptability; this is what makes these unique, irreplaceable and precious. To create to a level of excellence with diversity takes immense dedication; it has taken me decades to create what I do next and this will have direct ties to what is happening now and every single thing that has shaped me to this point.
More and more I recognise patterns and links between how I navigate life and build my ideas. I am constantly feeding bigger concepts with new tidbits of related abstractions, inspiration and direction. These come to me through day-to-day life; sometimes in the strangest of places, but I disregard nothing and file each experience, each learning lesson and concept where it needs to go into the areas I am focused on. It's in the tumultuous curve balls; when it's got really really fucking hot in the kitchen, that the most valuable epiphanies are revealed. I believe every heartfelt investment (it’s our choice if we make these good or bad) is building our lives and orientation- literally constructing how and what comes to us and what we manifest. This is why it is essential to have the freedom to follow and arrange these dots and that we refrain from painting the colours of these for others. Enabling each other to write our stories legitimises who we are, our individual identities and our exclusive purposes.
Most people underestimate the effect of mirror reality; how we behave professionally in most instances has strong ties to our personal lives and vica versa. I adore people who are driven to live authentic unorthodox existences because it demands a consistency of character, an honesty to themselves and those around them, and because it inherently means they treat their loved ones with the same respects. To do this well means developing delicately balanced skills in order to be able to articulate what we need and how we need it without guilt about being unusual or hurting those around us- this is extraordinarily complicated. I find as a woman, seeking balance between ambition and acquiring what I need for a particular reason without endless justification can cause friction and conflict- with others but also with myself; that self destructive/ sabotage tendency can run rather deep in us wee creatives. Balance is easier for me when I am independent, but infinitely more elaborate (but wonderful) when we have grown to be able to incorporate this with partners, lovers and friendships.
Being an only child and very independent from young has meant I had a good hold on being assertive as an individual, but not so good in intimate partnerships. The last few months has challenged me to learn more about being better with those who love me; I needed to learn I cannot control how others feel and how they want to share that, nor is it fair on myself to push them away or restrain their freedom of expression towards me with powerful emotions. Interestingly, I was good at giving this but a total hypocrite at receiving it- we live we learn huh! I can get protective of my pride and defensive of my vulnerability when I feel I have overly exposed my emotions. My pattern in partnerships sees me at times to slip into a differing and more accommodating seat, a place where I inevitably become bored, repressed, uncomfortable or agitated- but with only myself to blame. Being exceptionally accommodating is a rather useful trait within a nomadic and transient life- but it’s not so good when it spills into personal interaction. Learning why I felt this was how I should behave or why I do this has been fascinating and immensely valuable in order for me to not repeat patterns of the past, and to paint a different vibrant future; fear of rejection can come in sneaky packaging.
Life can be totally ironic huh; my greatest fear has also been the thing I am most fascinated and enamoured with- I love to love, but had huge trepidation about being cherished in return. This fear having legitimacy due to past experiences- but something that had the capacity to be very detrimental if I decided I wanted to carry it with me into my present and future. One foot was planted in being scared of the restrictions upon my freedom, another in fears of rejection and increased levels of emotional risk for myself and loved ones- powerful emotions have volatility. It has been a complete revelation to realise that accepting adoration can be unrestrictive and incredibly empowering, but within this there is a responsibility to myself and others to not detrimentally compromise who I am and also to be honest about how I feel, where I stand and what I want to do. We feel certain ways and have instincts for particular reasons to be who we are needed to be; conditional and unconditional love are fascinating siblings.
There has been an internal battle going on between being grateful with what is provided and available, and getting what I require emotionally to be happy in my life for my needs. My expectations on myself of these requirements have been unrealistic and inaccurately appraised- me trying to fit my emotional desires into prefabricated boxes- not good for moi, not good for anyone around me either. To love, to be loved, to whom, how, where; to provide/ to be provided for; how powerful these energies can be.. these can be really touchy topics when they aren’t as others have described or what is the social norm- when I really started feeling these things out my intellectual concepts and my emotional ones were sometimes quite in opposition. I decided, it is not up to me to control my feelings, we can rearrange and question thoughts, but these responsive reactions are hardwired for a purpose. In my opinion, a power much bigger than me decides how these happen and where they takes us- all I can do is recognise each as it’s own and make the best of them within a balanced sense of compromise and contest.
Recently a man discussed with me a concept of how as humans we steal each other's energy. These methods are used to attract emotional attention and investment from one another in order to gain power. These four strategies we all use in varying measure, but we will have a natural preference to one particular way over another depending on our upbringing and conditioning. There is Aloof, Woe is Me, Interrogator and Intimmidator. It has been a fascinating concept for me to ponder, as you have just read, emotional investment and provision have been prominent concepts of recent.
India is helping me become assertive (eek I here some say, you are rather formidable as is)- I’m not talking about an external confidence or vocal sense (although this is needed here as a fair, Western woman- it is just reality that my sex/ skin/ colouring has a big role to play in how I am treated- and seriously, it has far less to do with noise and more to do with presence)- it's an internal strength, a sureness of self and my decisions. Nowhere else would be as perfect to help me work though my thoughts and impressions and develop further in these ways. Just as nowhere else was as perfect as being isolated in a house on top of a cliff in Japan to find a new strategy for communicating my feelings without articulating them through speech. This is the value of travel and pushing that comfort zone to the wall- life slams into full exposure.
Holi was wonderful, although I didn't get half as demo'd as I thought I would- everyone was rather timid and respectful in colouring and drenching me!
My memories from childhood and curiosity with India has spanned decades and it is wonderful that furnishing this passion has brought me to this land now. My love towards those that have assisted me in this adventure- you know who you are, is limitless, but it is also extended to a lifetime of people and situations that have accumulated towards this passion also. As I have become stronger, I have met others also on incredible journeys of discovery- life colliding our trials and tribulations, joys and delights; enabling us to help each other grow through participation and contribution. To share with others and unravel our anxieties and intimacies to me is the kernel of existence. We are reverberations of each other, and when we get this mix right; if the best we can be is what we strive for, then there is only benefit for ourselves and for anyone who encounters us in the process. For this luxury; to be able to explore, live and create while doing what makes me tick, fizz and flourish makes me ecstatic, eternally grateful and empowered.
आपका बहुत बहुत धन्यवाद!
It has been an exciting and demanding few weeks creating and seeking opportunities for India!
I love working with children and young ones one-on-one and sharing my passion for creativity and design. Ever since I was a child I have really enjoyed being a part of days or afternoons of artistic activity; learning new things with other people and sharing and interacting while doing so is really cool, and worthwhile. Ya see, it’s not just about what you are doing, it’s about what you are feeling, talking about with others, sharing and experiencing. It’s about meeting people who challenge you, it’s about meeting people you admire, it’s about seeing things done different ways and it’s about p.l.a.y. ‘engaging in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose’. Invention, ingenuity and creativity comes from doing things differently, and that doesn’t come too well if it’s panicked about an end game (that can tick along in the sidelines and come back in later).
Sitting solitary at a computer or device can teach and impart many things, but it lacks a personal touch and it only gives one thing- it doesn’t share on more than one platform.
Those of you who follow my blog or writing will be well aware of my love of spectrums, juxtapositions and qualities. In this life, there are many, many ways to do the same thing, but they can be greatly varied in the beneficial attributes that each way has. I like doing things that hit many bases. I seek things that help others, help me, do things differently, have challenge, are unusual and have the capacity for exploration both mental and physical.
Here’s a relevant comparison for you of what I mean:
Learning how to paint on an IPad.
- ease of access; linear engagement
- no need to leave the house, no challenge to find new location
- only buy/ collect the media for that job- no access to other materials
- limited meetings with other people and having to interact and communicate
- it's very stop start & interrupted making- flicking back and forth between things
- relatively low stress/ challenge/ competition with others
- no time limit
- accessable 24/7 and often free
- relatively static/ low impact physically
- opportunity for daydream away from the topic
- it’s only one way- no group brainstorm that leads onto other things
- there is no-one to talk to- one cook in the idea kitchen
- less instigation of creativity sparked from peripheral situations/ exposure to additional things
- experience isn't stored in long term memory- no ‘kapow’ factor
- there is no motivation to ask questions, dispute the learning method or see other ways of doing the same thing
- there are no bloopers
- when mistakes happen it’s easy to walk away
Learning how to paint in a workshop over two days with other people in a different environment, culture and language.
- all the challenges involved in travel for those attending- new culture and societal structure
- new city to navigate and find bearings- absolutely necessary to push oneself to interact, talk with others- the journey is just (if not more) important than the course!
- required to look after yourself and those around you in order to get where you need to go- personal challenge
- person may be challenged to have to lead or take a role they otherwise would not do in ‘normal’ surroundings- group challenge
- more high impact = less time to worry about other small things
- sharing one person’s cultural ways of doing things with another’s
- exposing the new culture to a different looking person and attributes
- new communication techniques, languages and gestures- gettin creative with the basics!
- stripping away fear’s related to external appearance or impressions- people see when spending time together we are all deep down the same stuff with the same basic needs and concerns
- individual confrontation of prejudice, fear, unfamiliarity, anxiety
- group dynamics- helping weakest/ challenged members, supporting domineering or controlling members to be better team players
- organically letting the development flow and introducing new concepts/ techniques in relation to this- lots of cooks in the idea’s kitchen!
- lots of different people to talk to who share a common interest, and being made to by necessity
- learning how do do something new, liberating and fun- instigates a higher level of creativity
- humour, play and enjoyment
- lets re-write that one: play and enjoyment. These are ESSENTIAL building blocks in helping someone learn, retain information long term and instigate changes for the better
- ya can’t just shimmy out and walk away as easy
- if it ‘flops’ there is a person there to help
- the feeling of belonging, being part of building something bigger than just yourself and making real friendships- this. is. huge.
- sharing a little hope and joy to those less fortunate or being shown there is help available and other people care- that IPad doesn't hug and touch
- create positive long-term memories for a person to draw upon- 'kapow' factor!
- imparting passion- that feeling good and having fun lives within us and in cooperation; by reaching out a person can learn they already have all the skills within them to make things better and improve their heath and surroundings. Positive impact starts with personal responsibility.
- con.fi.dence and increased feelings of self worth and value
- engaged creativity- it's all the peripheral stuff that additionally feeds this machine
What we have in our heads, is far more sophisticated than anything we can can put in our hands or laps ;)
Sooo because I love doing what I do and want to maximise every avenue available in order to share these gifts while I am away, I have done the following:
I’ve approached the Wellington India Association with the invitation to explore connecting me with their contacts in India to set up an artistic connection between Wellington and cities abroad. I offer organised workshops sharing my knowledge and artistic skills with the local community and the opportunity to be a part of my next exhibition. This will be work inspired and possibly partially created in India.
I have introduced myself and offered my time, resources and skills to the following galleries for workshops, cultural exchange and interaction while in India:
Kiriti Gallery- Varanasi
India Art- Pune
Aakriti Art Gallery- New Delhi
I have investigated opportunities through MFAT for new business and cultural relationships between India and New Zealand and how my experience and skills could help construct a new cultural link between both nations. India is advertised as a country high on their priority list to network with and nurture new connections.
I have personally reconnected with people who have expressed interest in this new adventure through existing contacts and by getting out there and making new ones; and have met with those who have wanted to extend their support either financially, through connections or emotionally. That last one being just as important than the first two!
Most wonderfully, I have made new friends and reconnected with people I have met previously on my travels from around the world who are interested and excited to meet up with me in India and share in the incredible things I am going to create and develop while there. These fantastic souls are musicians, entrepreneurs, people invested and working within their community, designers and artists. I am incredibly excited to have the good fortune to have people to meet while in a new country.
But hey, lets get real nitty-gritty eh, for most people it comes down to this, ’what’s in it for me if I help fund your endeavour?’.
I’m going to be frank with you- people who help me do so from the goodness of their heart, and because they like what I create. What is the value of me and my skills in a world based around profit? What is the merit of a person who sees value in things that others disregard? What is the value to the people I encounter, help and spend my time with?
If you read the post Moxie .:’:. I.N.D.I.A recently (later than published) you may have seen I added in information about bigger projects I am working on which have a greater social and community impact than my creations. These trips, these adventures aren’t me just doing art. India is one of the oldest civilisations on the planet and like Japan, I believe there are valuable things to learn from those who have been doing things longer than others. A culture with this much background is a wealth of ideas to draw from- their empires have been built and destroyed many times over- they have developed and gone through commercialisation many more times than the rest of the world- are they not our future? Is India not what we will be, not what we were?
'Sooo' you ask, 'you haven't answered the question, what do I get?' You get to be associated long-term to a genuine, honest, talented woman who has a bigger and better picture for how we do things and how to help keep each other healthy, and come hell or high water is going to do something about it. You get my time, you receive my respect, you have an honest friendship not built on your wallet but of a true debt that I owe you as a human- you need a hand, I’m there- you have access to a wealth of skills and knowledge- lets talk about how we can help each other; and, if you find yourself drawn to a creation of mine- a wonderful unique artwork. This isn’t everyones thing- if you want a association to the 'art world', galleries and the lifestyle that entails I’m not your woman. But if you can see a bigger picture with me and are curious to seeing how I’m going to pan out and want to be part of it; if you trust me to follow through with what I say, if you see I am genuine in my activity to help others and subsequently work on the ideas I have to build & change things, then you my friend are the type of person I’d like to talk to.
Don't take me for granted- I'm more than what you may expect. Be creative, take a risk, look a little closer...
Totally unexpectedly (but right on point!) this evening I came across the exquisite film 'Ship of Theseus'.
'Life is Art' and 'Sharing is Caring' are sentiments I live by. This film champions not only these aphorisms but the more expansive concepts of interconnection and kismet that I embrace.
Ship of Theseus is an eloquent and tender cinematic illustration of the tapestry of interrelation- quite possibly one of the best I have ever seen, if not THE best- yes, very big call, but it really is that good.
I encourage you to take the time to watch this; cinematically it is stunning but the messages within are profound, pertinent and heartfelt.
LION ... I don't know what to say, words just don't come up to par.
I didn't 'watch' this movie, I rode a wave of emotion along with it as it tugged and directed all my heart strings. It's absolutely bloody brilliant and incredibly moving.
These also come highly recommended for ya oogling O-o
I am relentlessly committed to extending myself, pushing the boundaries and propelling my creative abilities with fresh perspectives; Yeeep, I’m off again... and this time it's I.N.D.I.A
2016 was a very challenging year for me as I came back to NZ to deal with serious health concerns. But I'm glad I did for I healed myself to become stronger, wiser and ready for another chapter. For me to be well physically, mentally, spiritually and to be happy, I have to find the next step up; the next challenge. Sitting still or conceding to being comfortable is not an option. I am persistent in my compulsion to want to progress; to experience new things and create new relationships. Last year, in addition to mending, creating new work and planning new achievements, I used my time home in 2016 to mentor and help other people and creatives one-on-one. To have this opportunity was incredibly valuable; for others, for myself and for the community as a whole.
The most joy in my life comes from being able to share my time and gifts with people who appreciate them; the most misery from when I get tangled up thinking of myself. My spirit and diverse repertoire is seen internationally as precious, commendable and to be celebrated; but alas, on home soil, my talents and personality is not as understood nor acclaimed. This 'acclaim' isn't as you may think in a traditional back patting award sense, it's just day to day being me. Although I adore NZ, I let out a big breath as soon as I board an international flight! My urge and impulse to travel and to move is a necessity because I love sharing my good fortune, but it is also to feel valued in return.
My commitment to my artistic development was proven over the MOXIE .:':. JAPAN indiegogo crowdfunding endeavour. Not only did I fulfil my aims and objectives, but I exceeded them and publicised my achievements through regular detailed updates on my blog. Upon returning to NZ via Canada, I created and self funded a solo show of new work and then returned, again self funded, a month later to Japan as Artist in Residence at MeiPAM Gallery.
I discovered, nurtured and developed this opportunity and it is a testament to my follow through and devotion to my dreams. Finishing up in Japan late 2015, I then again took the bull by the horns buying a one way ticket to London and subsequently on to the Netherlands via Spain, exploring creative directions, networks and new cultures. I met an incredible group of intellectuals in Amsterdam which had a profound affect on my decision to come home and extend my skills to those around me. This is not the start of something new, but another chapter in a book thick with sharing my gifts with others, either at home or abroad. New networks and experiences don't just impact upon me, they affect whoever I touch next in a positive and productive manner. Encounters shape and refine how and what we think, feel and behave like, and when these are demanding and stimulating, they challenge us to change and grow. Relationships forged by sharing time together are tremendously powerful- we can’t forget those we laughed, dined or adventured with, but we sure can dismiss an email.
I am extremely proactive towards exploring avenues for investment including applying for grants, approaching galleries, crowdfunding, auctions, online sales, selling all of my possessions and completely altering my lifestyle. Conditioning myself psychologically, physically and with more skills to be ready for different situations takes commitment and dedication. I am constantly doing things and doing them differently to keep on edge and learning. My journeys are hard work. I source work, budget within parameters and constantly reevaluate situations within what is presented and available at the time. I have always garnered a great sense of satisfaction from bringing about amazing results out of a bag of limited resources, but since Japan, I have pushed this much, much further by purposely refining my avenues and techniques. I find it is extremely rewarding to confront myself with need v want, assess my presumptions and ignorance and subsequently reevaluate my thoughts and reasonings. I never waste an opportunity and I live with no regrets.
I am unusual in my travel methods. A one way flight and first two nights accommodation organised is how I like to start. I push myself to use this level of trial as an advantage because it makes me make the most of where I am and what I see. It lets me interact with people I meet along the way and make decisions based on these encounters. It is me living by my advice to ‘go-with-the-flow'. Plus in this day and age, why not? We have so many options available it’s a smorgasbord selection.I am open and transparent in my ambitions to create achievement from adversity and inspiring others to do the same.
Missing out on one of the 10 grants up for opportunity from the Asia New Zealand Foundation specifically for artist residencies was challenging. Especially as they were to support ‘new relationships’ between Japan and New Zealand- My application was declined as AsiaNZ did not ‘know’ MeiPAM Gallery. I had previously applied for support prior to my first trip to Japan under their 'Contestable Arts Grants'. These are 10 grants of up to a maximum of $2,000 each, per grant round for arts organisations and arts professionals to support projects that contribute to New Zealanders’ understanding of Asian arts and culture. This application was also was declined.
Grant applications, funding opportunities and networking through Creative New Zealand takes an enormous amount of time and resources. To some, my approaches may be unorthodox but my genuine nature, authenticity, honesty and work ethic is not. I value, respect, appreciate and cherish the people & organisations that support my undertakings, and I am privileged to have these qualities reflected back to me. My level of discretion, honesty and privacy may make me unusual to some within the industries I work in, but it is also precisely why I am able to meet and work with exceptional and unique individuals- I treat others how I would like them to extend their respect in return. I do what I say I am going to do to the highest standard and I do it fast. If there was an opportunity to be an ambassador for championing the creative arts and creating new relationships internationally based on practical knowledge and professionalism, I would be fighting for that role... actually that's why I am making a role.
I give back in many ways with my time, with my open availability to share my knowledge, through my writing to inspire others to explore, facilitating and conducting creative workshops, and by providing gifts of art to my sponsors and those who help me. My friends, references, former employers and associates can all vouch for my diligence, heartfelt investment and willingness to share my insights and develop further with enthusiasm. I am passionate about living to my fullest capacity doing what I love and encouraging others to do the same by broadening our horizons and sharing fresh impressions with those around us, and the world, through expressions and interaction. I also demonstrate that the 'old' one-on-one way of meeting people still works wonders, and although 'harder' work (is it when we love it?!), I would argue these relationships are faaaar more meaningful, precious and enduring. I don't need 100's of people to do amazing things; quality over quantity works exceptionally over many fields in my life. I motivate others to have the courage and tenacity to establish and substantiate their ambitions on their own terms, and help hands on with valuable and relevant strategies, skills, networks and perspectives. Where there is a will, there is always a way, and I love proving that those can be varied and different.
Creating art is a small portion of the creative enterprises I have in production. I am working on much more complex projects with societal and community influence, and these trips; this exposure to other cultures, directly impacts upon these. New Zealand is a distinctive and diverse multi-cultural society with a unique cultural repertoire and capacity for creativity- but there are gaping holes in the support available for those who want to undertake developing these talents without sacrificing their morals, integrity and virtue or to get access to capital for unusual, ambitious and ingenious personal developments. One project, very dear to my heart addresses this issue and another our access to the building blocks of what is needed to keep minds healthy and happy in order to be able to think outside the box, combat anxiety and be productive. This commercial endeavour is about establishing a creative hub within our urban areas- a market and galleria of-a-type but muuuuuuch more. Bringing back to our communities a place where people feel comfortable to choose quality products at a fair price, learn new ways to use them, meet with the local artisans and producers who make and develop them, and interact with other people while doing so.
Mental health and wellbeing is greatly influenced by interaction; as technology infiltrates further into our daily living (NZ being at the forefront internationally with this), it is becoming increasingly important that people have situations encouraging them to connect with their neighbours and surroundings. This combats feelings of isolation, detachment and loneliness; emotional responses which are becoming increasingly prevalent within our population- yes, it's a much bigger picture than just getting your goodies. Developing the qualities of usefulness, self respect and good citizenship requires imparting the skills to success at the basics- when physical and mental health is in flow we can move onto taking the next step up on ladders towards these attributes. In addition, I aim to have New Zealand artists and designers fully interconnected within the production process through label designs, packaging and manufacturing- creating opportunities for graduates, established creatives and those without formal education but incredible aptitude to gain exposure of their talents. If this piques your curiosity, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Again self funded, I intend to leave by the end of February or very early March for New Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, Udaipur, Pune and Leh (and some other surprising places!!)… but as ya’ll have seen before this will only be the beginning!
I invite you to have a look through my artwork for sale and hope you feel compelled to join with me in my new adventure.
I’d love you to pass my details on to friends and associates who you think may also be interested. I am available to talk with people in person about the merits of my venture and the value that my undertakings extend to society.
Please do contact me if you would like to commission me for an artwork or concept, I am always accommodating at working with people to create their visions; my repertoire is broad and diverse.
To a year of adventure, challenge and excitement!
And I'm rather thrilled to have one of my photos taken in the Netherlands as part of the new Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May show; 'The Grand Tour' which is planned to air in NZ in December through Amazon Prime. Look out for Episode 5... or keep an eye on this nifty wee sight THE GRAND TOUR
I wonder if many people have stopped and thought about the process of using the internet- it really is quite a remarkable and personalised thing. We can give two people the exact same topic and because of their power of abstraction, thought, language and selection, be taken through tangents to extraordinary and drastically varied outcomes. Kinda magical don't you think?
Yesterday, in two quite distinctly different situations out doing things I'm passionate about, I came across the same piece of information. A fascinating and heart warming work of penmanship that gave me courage to continue working on some of my more complex conceptualisations. I wanted to share, because no matter what is circulating upstairs, this feeling, this emotion is accessible to everyone because we all have it. It takes a little step- by doing something that you like, or without the movement; by thinking of what brings you joy. It is your entitlement as a human to be able to do this, nurture this and seek more of it; it is what helps us learn, keeps us healthy and what protects us from harm, so with aroha from me to you today- spread a little goodness; it costs absolutely nothing and takes milliseconds to do. One smile shared with another can change a person's day, but five minutes with them, can entirely change their world.
. . .
In the late 1980s, Lieserl, the daughter of the famous genius, donated 1,400 letters, written by Einstein, to the Hebrew University, with orders not to publish their contents until two decades after his death. This is one of them.
…”When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us.
This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force.
Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it.
Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.
Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals.
For love we live and die.
Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation.
If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! “.
Your father Albert Einstein
. . .
Cooking, history, heritage, relationships, sharing, artisan & local producers and trades(wo)men, farming, agriculture, animals and the environment; the circles of life, sustainability and the effects of consumption have been principles, themes and foundations I have grown up with since I was a wee one. My family had a lifestyle property out of the city where we had animals, extensive gardens and produced an abundant variety of vegetables and produce and got all elbows and gummies in, and the majority of properties I have lived in I have been a part of cultivating gardens. My childhood friend's family owned a good chunk of Arapawa Island and another bay called Green Bay in the Marlborough Sounds; places we would fly and boat to for weekends and extended breaks- here too, even as grasshoppers we were all hands to deck and active in being independent and self reliant. From very early on in my life my experiences combined with an adventurous disposition cemented a love for relationships and cycles; how to live with nature, time, each other and the commitment and integrity it takes to nurture, develop and sustain associations. Plus we learnt first hand the rewards pushing out of our comfort zones could bring us. My memories are filled with glorious experiences out in our land, in every condition while learning diverse skills and partaking in the building blocks of what it means to support ourselves, others and the community.
'Organic', 'sustainable', 'ethically minded' these are all phrases fashionably promoted in modern society. 'Coined' perhaps being a more appropriate term, because often now they are used to cash in on others; pull heart strings with a little social and emotional blackmail and tout the 'correct' way to live & consume. My family, and those we know did it well before anything was fashionable because they love living like that and because they genuinely like to help out, do their bit & fix things.
Conscious consuming seems to have got really uptight all of a sudden. It's all good going and buying those free range chook eggs and organic beef- but have you stopped and thought about what your stress levels are like doing this? I mean- it's fabbo helping the animals/ environment but the human getting it needs to be happy also. I watch so many people running around like blue ass flies, afraid to admit they're totally overloaded, afraid to say that they'd rather not be so 'busy' and keeping up appearances when they are totally run ragged. You know that free range meat- well they are farming it so the animal is happy, because less stress means tender produce and a better all round product & system.
... um... human, you are no different. Don't you deserve to be a tender product of a beautiful system?
Labels often aren't what they seem- people getting on and doing things with the right motivations don't shout from the rooftops- it's part of their DNA. The biggest sharers often have next to nothing; the richest often have no cachinga, the wisest little 'formal' education, the most beautiful are not models, and the ugliest are sometimes the most aesthetically pleasing. The biggest movers & shakers don't do it with noise, pandemonium or back patting and the most powerful are often not in positions with titles. I learnt simple things from the land and Mother Nature's rules that have traveled with me into everything I do: Live with dignity; help each other out ;)
I'm an organic free range human who adores nothing more than to create cuisine for myself and my loved ones. This year being on the hop has meant I craved and required easy wholesome solutions to dinners and quick answers to my desires for resourcefulness with a dash of creativity smacked in. I had never really considered sharing photos on Insta of what I chuck together perhaps because they aren't like my fancy presentations for parties and get togethers, but after a friend popped over and commented how much she loved them, I continued to do so- and really enjoyed it.
Plus this is what I love and reward myself with in real time- no preening. Real food ❤ reaaaally easy (jezzus Gordon R watch out! lol)
More daylight hours, warm temperatures and party season starting requires tasty solutions. Here's the recipes that match up with those tempting photos I posted that ya'll kindly shared your appreciation for. Ennnjjoy.
Yum!- hope you have fun! P.S. Here's an active link for the plaiting video :)
The Game of Life can make some incredible twists and turns if we couple inspiration, action and energy. A few of these following topics I’ve touched on previously, but here’s a little more relatable context perhaps and expansion on talking points of interest that have surfaced within meetings over the last few weeks.
In this day and age the amount of personal anxiety associated to making life decisions can become rather high if the participant takes on an overly directional rule sheet. In my experience through the lifestyle I have chosen, I’ve learnt I don't have to know what I’m doing in 6 months time (or sometimes 6 hours with this free-range human!) because when it's time to move- I feel it on my terms. A rough idea and timeline of goal setting sure, we must know what we want with vision and dedication- but life develops. The lion's share of focus and work is head down tail up on enjoying, appreciating and working through the current ripple of things at the time. Though this process, answers by way of advanced ideas, opportunities and new avenues to the next wave amass and become apparent along the way. This utilities a wonderful, powerful and rather under recognised thang called transferable & accumulative skill. I loooove having the art of surprise in my back pocket. It consistently cracks me up how people underestimate what another person knows or is learning, the other presentations of their personality they can appropriate to different situations or people, or the power conviction & fiery determination can have upon an idea- things that have irked me from very young and ensured I have not projected these misconceptions onto the people around me. Psst, I'll let ya in on a not so secret secret too... less control = more fun.
Many of us have spent time on the ping pong table being ricocheted between ‘living in the moment’ and ‘goal setting’, but a place where my stubbornness to not conform to things I don't feel comfortable with plants me into finding my own happy medium. We can’t achieve ‘everything’, but we can achieve & experience our own ‘everything’. If we are thoughtful about the selection of particular attributes we are after and construct a realistic connection between them, then over time we can indeed do all the things we aspire towards- but the ol’ timeline- well that’s a waterslide- we can’t get everything in one ripple! Ripples aren't entirely accumulative either there is trade and release needed, and often on the way through we learn that some of the things we are aiming for are no longer necessary or justified. Expanding and contracting between aspiration/ growth and recognition/ appreciation for what we already have, bounces back and forth; we are already enough in any state as is.
In my world, the people I meet, the situations that present themselves and the events that happen are of no coincidence- I do not believe in Luck. I experience patterns of synchronicity and work my ass off, however we have different powers of recognition and recollection to these phenomenon and memories. Not all of us are born with this knack nor inclination of interest in matching them up or want to develop these skills. Being under the impression of happenstance means thinking there isn't sequences and connections to processes, planning and outcome or that a bigger energy than human brain power exists. Everything is interlinked- we are all made of the same stuff; there is always a way, yet how we feel and what impact this can have on our abilities can be in great variation. Sometimes, people can have a hard time admitting that we are all at different levels of skill within this spectrum, yet if a person decides to couple dedication with service and aspiration they can grow to develop incredible capabilities. Perhaps another way to look at it is that I feel I'm the luckiest girl alive, for the good stuff but for the problems also- they completely fit who I am. I see it as an immense privilege to have opportunities to do what I love.
I see life as little jigsaw pieces connecting together and feel we are here to learn from each other and help each other out along the journey. Which is why if we get audacious with the pieces and seek and create opportunities for relatedness, then over extended intervals they too can come together if we work for them. Often people exclaim ‘it was meant to be!’ and the Universe in combination with our thoughts and direction, in my opinion, does indeed provide these encounters, but it also manoeuvres and navigates us away from things also. Humans are mimics and mirrors; what we think and how we behave over time reflects actions and occurrences back to us. Some of the things we want and set our hearts on require other peoples lives and events to progress in order for things to drop into place; we don’t control everything, we sometimes don't deserve things, we are not indispensable and we certainly have nada on Time. But that last one; she's our biggest ally.
You've heard this one before but it's solid...
I believe within life, the accidents, the bumbles and the hold ups are just as significant as good events because they are also looking after us or giving us a needed wisdom. Grasping this concept completely changes our attitudes towards fellow man and the blips in existence. Missing things, stuff breaking down, ‘bugger’ moments don’t phase me now that I'm a little more seasoned- tbh that stuff never really did as it's fixable 1) I’m learning something 2) I’m being held in place for a reason. A lot comes to light about a person by how they manage tangled faerie lights, missing a flight and loosing their luggage! My big accidents have taught me big things.
I had a decent motorbike accident two years ago which was a timely wake up call. I had ridden down to the pub to watch the All Black | Aussie game, afterwards I had been yakking with a group of young lads (showing off) and decided to gas it when I left. Not taking into account the icy conditions, nor that I was on my new bike, not my older one. Back tyre lost traction upon touching the frosty white centreline and I nastily high sided right out the front of the watering hole knocking myself out. There is nothing like having the people you've been showing off in-front of scraping you off the tarmac like peanut butter, and having to call your Da to take you to hospital and sit with you till 4 am while you're seeing rainbows to rap your ego WELL and truly sheepishly into line and to remind you of humilty. Universe I heard you loud and clear.
When I was 19 I went to New York and one night had got myself way out in Queens with this amazing group of artists I had randomly met and gone back to their loft to parrrrrttyyy. I decided I’d catch the 2nd to last train back in to Manhattan, but had got a little to wrapped into the joviality and forgotten to leave in time. So I only made it to the station for the last train of the night. The next morning when I got up I was making a coffee and the news broadcast an article that two British tourists had been shot execution style after getting onto to the train I was supposed to at the station I had come from. This is a rather dramatic instance of quite literally dodging a bullet, but over my life I can illustrate many different occasions when ‘missing the train’ has been the best thing. Fortunately for me, that night was not my time to go, but if the shit was to have hit- I would have had to accept that. In majority the world is just sleep, eat, f*%&, work, repeat (maybe not in that order)- not sabotage, harass, murder and blow up- that takes a loooot of effort. Bad has to happen as much as good; with more love in the world their is equally more hate and inevitably something, some experience or someone is going to take us out.
Four years ago I had a wisdom tooth that was impacting (not high enough on the evolutionary scale lol) and decided to have surgery to take it out. 'Do an Angelina Jolie Doc, and take the other two out just incase please, I don't want to have to go through this again' I famously said, even though the other two out of three were relatively fine. I had every complication and detrimental side effect you could muster and learnt an important thing in this day and age for my body 'don't go in there messing with things that don't need fixing'.
The ducks never all quite line up, and if they do it’s only for a very short period; there is always something going on. We get money, job, living lined up, then heath pops out of whack. Get the heath sorted and something else slips to the left. When I restored my Morris Minor, replacing parts was a similar pattern of chess, you see, the parts wear down and make grooves together over time. When one fails or needs to be replaced the dimensions of the new part aren't worn in like the former and so they cause friction and changes in different areas. Life is no different- little rubs and reactions take place as we change which cause other things to pop and shift.
I choose not to expose online nor give examples of the extraordinary and unusual experiences and stories from my life. I am private and discrete and it's a privellage when we share information with each other; plus I don't wallow about in painful chapters; yet I hold wild, remarkable, and destructive examples of situations and ramifications to incidents, conduct and choices I have made, been a part of or been subjected to within my life also. I have come out of holes so deep and fathomless even I look back in awe and reverence at how I've managed. The past happened as it should have for my story, and I accept it- that is the most tremendous learning lesson of them all- ownership and full responsibility for what has been without malice. When a person decides to publicly expose distressing events that have happened to them, they take a position of moral ground; right or wrong, victim or perpetrator; I do not agree with this. In a large proportion of the situations in the developed world, if we all dig deep enough, there are decisions and choices which require responsibility from both sides and more often than not, predominantly with ourselves. Publicly advertising these things displays that the person has not fully come to terms with the situation, is continuing to let it dominate them and their identity, and that they think their pain is significant and unique. Trauma is part of being human.
I have been extremely independent from very young and intent & unwavering upon building an existence doing things I am passionate about, but this rides squiggly lines not straight ones. I openly apologise to those I have not done so in person who I hurt, forgave myself and those who did me wrong- thank you, you did me a favour; I learnt from you, and I thank from the deepest well in my heart all the incredible souls who looked after me, protected me, loved me, dished me sharp truths and guided me; of the past, present and the future. My journey is no pack of fluffy ducks- who's is? Love is not written in white, there are necessary chapters in red and I was not going to get to where I am without intimate knowledge of the whole conglomeration. I value and respect this part of me, even more than the gloss, because coming through those chapters, taking full responsibility for my part within those, and acquiring insights from them, has shaped me into the sonorous soul I am. I am exactly what I wished to be. I have lived more in my short time than some could do in multiple lifetimes. We don't need to search for people to share these things with, we actually get matched up with each other when we need each other- this remarkable system continues to humble and delight me and how when we are open to it, we can very organically alleviate each other's confusion and pain by sharing.
We see bombing and massacres- people blowing each other up fighting about the same thing with different names- we can call it Love, or Brahman, Qi, the Universe (in reference to the energy not the astrological configuration); or in personification; Allah, God, Elohim, and many other celebrities. Misguided humans are fighting with artillery bought from the ‘good guys’ (or perhaps my Kiwisaver funds?!!), yet there are crusades far more volatile sitting right next to you. Talk to a young person and uncover the layers of self loathing, anxiety associated to perfectionism, atrocious berating and abuse that goes on right inside their mighty mind. I’m going bigger than than that because we are all kids inside- the proportion of people who are waring internally is enormous. It took me 18 years to make a true comrade of my mind (Spirit) and that took many battles and casualties on both sides. I chose from early on in my life to invest my energy into people and the engagements that I could make a significant difference with, but what most people don't realise is that they don't need to make grandiose movements and publicised endeavours to promoted wars (ulterior motive), they just need to turn around on home patch and say ‘Hey, so how YOU doin?’.
As I've seen glimpses of New Zealand Fashion Week recently I have only compassion for the beautiful gazelles lolliping along, some with rabid hungry eyes, because I know first hand what dichotomy is being presented before me. Ooo Ahh, drool drool; beautiful specimen of humanity they say… but that is a dismembered young soldier dragging their body up the beach to salvation I see. Frontline war on hate, love, identity, and acceptance for both sexes. When perfectionism, competition, intelligence and ambition combine we have internal nail bombs going off. How do I know this? I was a food loving chiquita banana masquerading as a gazelle for many, many years, and it took a huge amount of berating, fire and denial to keep myself that way. Lovelies, being content doesn't have a BMI and sated does not equate to fat. Someone else would love the body you have right. now.
Everything I do and am fascinated with is rooted in feelings and impressions- how the hell did I ever think I would be happy constricting my oldest passion to fit the rigid confinements of 'fuel'?! I am not built that way, and I'm not surprised in hindsight to see this was my challenge, but it took a long time to come to terms and understand that- especially as messing with diet in the Western world is seen as a common and encouraged thing- to some of us it is simply much more sensory and because of this, a rather dangerous part of physiology to mess with. If a person is wired this way, they will not find fulfilment in attempting to conform to the opposite. Our second brains (guts) contain +100 Million neurons, more than what is in the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. By not feeding this correctly, or by restricting or obstructing the personal requirements of this system, a person is literally restricting their abilities to think, feel and grow to their potential. I have learnt that an extremely important part of being in balance as a creative bean (human) is eating three (or 2 or 4, or what is personal cos it chaaanges) gorgeous, fresh, whole food and protein laden meals with sleep; less nosiness, matching, 'nutritional averages', measuring, eating on the go with out gratifying the experience and one-upping over what others are doing eh and more just what we personally love and feel... Cravings are telling us things- not listening to these inevitably spells disaster. These complications are skyrocketing within our society due to fabricated projections followed by unrealistic expectations people are imposing upon themselves. Want to find some of the unhealthiest people in our communities, pop into the gym, a secondary school, a modelling agency or a health food shop. There is an instance when famine is totally legitimate; when we starve the ego but feed the spirit.
The beautiful and talented soul Bieber got it hole in one with what is quite simply one of the most complex reflections to genuinely master: 'Love Yourself'. It's not the egotistical way it sounds and is portrayed; all gloss, compact and presentable- Un-conditional love unquestionably encompasses imperfection, flaws, inadequacy, weakness, fear, sadness, wobbly bits, illnesses, complications and deviations from the norm- c'est la vie.
Although I recognised and loved beauty in a great variety of humanity, for a stupid amount of time I thought a proportion of my beauty was a number sewn into my pants (duh.) My inner child; my soul knew that was really foolish, but my ego wanted to differ. She was scared, and she was confused and she had been conditioned to find comfort within that pain. Internal incorporeal work, if the person so chooses, inevitably requires us to climb these mountains and understand them. Love has an extraordinary amount of contrasting colours and can be sheep in wolf's clothing.
I believe we are back living these lifetimes within different stages of consciousness and this means we are all feeling and sensing things differently. The majority of people become more mindful as they get older- but some of us gather these insights at ages out of proportion to our peers or those around us- as a generalisation creatives (we are all evolving to become more of this) are often in the latter category- and with this comes trials with isolation, loneliness, compulsion, self destructive tendencies and other challenging traits- it can be extraordinarily daunting being different. Just because someone else doesn’t understand what you are feeling doesn’t mean that it isn't real or happening. More than likely its just that that person either hasn't felt that, gone through that experience or just isn't on the same wavelength; unfortunately most people disregard or get worked up at things if they can’t empathise or relate to it. With this in mind it can be easy to see how when a person is exploring to find their own certitude, that they can be freaked out by their feelings, problems and attributes. Being frightened by reactive situations, fearful about negative qualities, humiliated, demoralised or feeling like an odd one out doesn't help someone come to terms with what is going on nor be a better bunny- it just exacerbates and heightens an already sensitised circumstance and person. Anxiety is not a 'real' threat, it is an imaginary complication and can be (it's different for all of us) quite a different feeling to fear or nervousness. Yet the ramifications of how easily we can impact each other with our words and actions cannot be underestimated upon this gremlin; simple things to one person can push another into complete overload. It is very important to learn how to decompartmentalise logical productive options and emotionally invested ones in order to figure out what needs to be done and what needs to be nurtured.
We can intellectualise concepts until we are blue in the face, but that is very different from living and feeling an idea or experience. Sometimes it's like I roll around a concept like a hard boil lolly in my head, savouring it and whittling it down until it disappears, and then one day out of the blue it pops back up in relevance again and I realise where it fits and that I really feel that, I get it on a deep and intimate level- but when it initially slid in I may have been quite uncertain about it. Ahuh/ Ohhh emotions take time- we can't force people to feel things and we can't change until we do. People define things and give advice on their own timelines and terms; promoting solutions they have found which have been appropriate for their existence and most fib about the difficulties and their unusual characteristics; often casting them in softer and more favourable light. It doesn’t mean that their way is the only way to skin the cat and that in rare cases another person’s cat can’t be a pegasus.
Quality help is situated right around us by those that we associate with. They share our characteristics- external services don't have the same calibre of connection. Neither does a lot of this info on the internet- it's not quite right on the button for our culture, environment or psyche- and we can be our own worst enemies. In my experience, knots have geographical, ethnographic, environmental and social significance; trying to untangle them by not investigating close quarters first is like feeding a bird dog food- our feelings and emotional orientation has particular patterns and predispositions. Big nuggety issues frequently have resolutions in close quarters and ripples. When we open up and talk with a person we respect face-to-face a little magic happens, physical and primal emotional (and science supports magnetic) reactions; unlike any release valve that can be found through reading, often in isolation and feeding that whirling vortex of seclusion and distress.
Problem shared, problem halved but it's a bit more than that- it's like a litmus test of quirk that tames feeling peculiar by showing us another person's got our emotional back. Life doesn't expose all the package of answers in one go or place and people often don't expose their full stories; many are quite guarded about their unusual clever secrets- which is fair enough, and the whole story wouldn't matter anyway because what we are sharing between each other is all that's needed at that point. Hell, as we all know, sometimes things don't need to be said, it's enough just to be together. Dudes, on average have a better knack at this than chiquitas who use natter to iron out issues. People can imitate superficial features but no-one can mimic charisma and aura- you are here for your reasons and impressions not another's. My great friend Bern has a fantastic line for those who are getting up in his grill: 'live your life, mine is taken'.
I came back from Holland nine months ago to help my family with events that were coming up this year, invest my expertise into people and an environment I love and work at adjusting a particular lifelong quality within myself. I’d had enough of fighting within and I had collected the tools and skills I required in order to focus on achieving making peace with some very gnarly components, but none of this came overnight. We can only do, what we do, when we do it. Day after day after day I did my best, we can ask no more, and I held strong on feeling and subsequently understanding emotions that for years I had complications with or repressed; slap bang in a setting where they were at there highest and most volatile potency. My tigers used to slink in not when I was busy and engaged, but in times of stillness and calm; when I had extended amounts of time to ponder the plethora of options I could concoct.
Seemingly negative abilities to circumnavigate reactions had also illustrated to me that my life worked without buying into some of those emotions- that they were best ignored- but unfortunately the knack for doing so was on a death run to take me out. I was cheating on a exponential scale- most destructively by killing myself from the inside out. Anxiety is actually totally useless, but it can manufacture despair so dark even darkness itself wants to hide. In modern life ladies & gents there is no tiger for that fight or flight response. No fucking tiger people. I completely trust what I feel not always what I think; thoughts can be proven false, but feelings never so. Keep in mind too, we exist within a world of frameworks that are only another person's ideas & concepts that have general consensus.
A women's maternal instinct, in generalisation, is built to be able to have an empathetic response to people and situations; to be able to flick things around and case out all the options in order to protect her brood. This ability can be really annoying if it is given too much space to expand within ideas. My love for a concept can ignite the same tactic of defence in a way to give me additional options in order to solve a problem. But I don't need 1,000 options- I only need 1. Inner eye on the one option with most investment- not getting googly and sidetracked. When I am travelling and doing activities I'm using more of my linear 'masculine' brain; 'this is where I want to go, this is what I choose' no fizz from myself or people I care about giving me jitters with their opinions or demands. In the main, my planning and calculations are fluid and decisive but it was time to master that lesser developed facet. 2016 required me to face cool extensively drawn-out strategy being tugged by emotional diversion and un-package it, and additionally got me intimately aquatinted with my not so favourable friend called 'sitting meditation' for like, loong stretches arrrrggghhh. Once a person is aware of the fluff however, we can cut through the inventive avenues, have certainty within ourselves and go back to focusing on action.
The crazy thing is that on the other side of that sick zingy cauldron of concoctions, once a decision is locked, is this addictive, giddy, upside-down-inside-out feeling of elation and skin buzzing anticipation. THAT is what I crave by pushing myself into the extreme by stretching parameters so far that they combust upon themselves. It's sexual, it's primal, it's breathtaking & it's a high totally unique. A mental state and sensation not dissimilar to what I expereince when participating in adrealine activites. The only boundaries upon ourselves are the ones we impose and shattering those really feels incredible. It's this really neat gut-fluttery feeling when I make a decision for my life that has made me turn the cog in a defined direction. I follow through everything I do to resolution and I am relentless in my searching, my seeking, my propulsion to be better and to share these achievements with those around me. It's very foolish to miscalculate me- I can see where I am going and every day I am building who, what, where I am. If 'going to ground' (former post) is being broken & rebuilt- this experience is rebirth. Magical thing is that some of those other invested things have a way of weaving their tapestry in further down the line which is fascinating... and within culture, historically well documented if you're interested in collecting the patterns within stories around the world. Pattern recognition is powerful stuff- because as soon as we can ascertain a system we can prepare for it, change it or set up the conditions to replicate it.
This. repairing. went. on. for. months. In some aspects it was the hardest and most uncomfortable of times, but I viewed that as soo minimal in comparison to what I was achieving in other areas of much greater long-term value and importance, that I refused to buy into dwelling on the lack, & this year if I'm being honest, there was a huge amount of it if I had taken stock, but I just don't work that way. Soaring over that by following this process lead me to witness miracles, there is no other way to put it; but if you're heart is unobstructed, you will see they flicker around us continuously. Humanity has an unfortunate knack of not recognising the incredulity of 'smooth sailing' and focusing on points of obstruction. I had amazing new projects and concepts I wanted to put into action and I knew that unless I dedicated myself to reprogramming a few aspects of psyche there was no way I was going to progress on those other avenues because the solutions were tied into problems. Through combining thought, action and repetition over time we can make new neural pathways to train ourselves into new habits. Combined with having faith in a power greater than ego to help out with processes means we can focus on the task at hand and leave other details to drop into place in the right time and if they warranted. Sometimes it’s just not time for a particular duck however and ya gotta just get the fuck over it and enjoy what is there in the asset pond.
Listening to your conscious/ your intuition/ your inner voice/ the voice of reason/ your Heart is not schizophrenia. Although I have found out that just like memory, we have this in varying magnitudes.
I felt this topic needs a little addressing as it has come up on more than one occasion over the last few weeks in conversation, and in particular with concerned younger creatives. Many out-of-the-box-thinkers I know have had this thought pass through at some point or another, and most probably given it a good old Google… and potentially freaked out a little because there are some symptoms that could be seen as rather similar. But so do the common cold and cancer. There is a lot of danger within all this access to information; far more than any gun, drug or other weapon. Mastery and madness share qualities but what the panic'd brain or person set out to find fault can overlook, is that the latter rounds the corner with disposition, outlook and social association. Ponder this for a moment: The thought that a person had one day that by cutting into another live man they could remove the 'sickness' within is a rather strange one- so is a person sitting across from another giving them a label for their circumstances; strapping metal under our feet and zipping over snow and off obstacles; that someone stared up at the Moon and actually wanted to get there, that we wanted to ride the barrel of a wave like a dolphin or straddling rockets and make them curve around corners... bonkers no?- it's only now we are conditioned to accept these things, but if we go back to the initial root when someone had the idea- things are astronomically way out.
The term schizophrenia, which in Greek means “split mind,” was first used to describe a psychological disorder by Eugen Bleuler (1857–1939), a Swiss psychiatrist who was studying patients who had very severe thought disorders. Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder marked by delusions, hallucinations, loss of contact with reality, inappropriate affect, disorganised speech, social withdrawal, and deterioration of adaptive behaviour.
It’s categorised by being scrambled in thought and action and not being able to make tangible and rational decisions between behaviours and ideas; the internal connection of dots is making scattered patterns not complex patterns with linear parts. But I think it’s the ‘listening to the voice of your Heart’ that is what really instills fear. The voice inside is not the same as having a chorus yapping inside, or being told to do bizarre and reactive things creating patterns of disproportionate abnormality which follows through to detrimental behaviours upon themselves, friends, family and others. These things don't have rational links to events or situations that have happened within the persons life. People with schizophrenia’s jigsaw puzzle is not coming together correctly; they are shoving pieces in which don't have matching edges and the links between concepts and achievements is not correlating.
Creatives at times are scrambled- but from stress and running at high function (bouncing around trying to find the correct jigsaw piece)- not clinical madness. Maintaining attending a university, or working, creating and participating within the extreme pressures of life today, requires dealing with immense complexities and juggling lots of life balls. Brain and Spirit can go into hyperdrive. Creativity is extremely stressful when it is being compressed into a tap and made to perform on cue and deadline. Dance little bear….NOW!
The densest proportion of clusters containing uber exciting, radical, affluent and incredible developments in the world today are coming from mature cultures that have spiritual grounding/ belief in self and much less investment into pick-a-part clinical evaluation. Which side of the fence would you like to choose?- bonded empowerment or analytical fragmentation? Spirit or psyche? Science, up to date, only proves what it can share with others and it's all averages- it doesn't equate for exceptional or unusual- we are getting a helluva-lot more mixed, quite quickly as we evolve (intellectually, sexually, creatively); the only proof that is relevant is within yourself. (Pop onto Instagram for 5 mins and have a look at all the people who can draw like Leonardo da Vinci, all the incredible inventions, all the world class chef's... our collective conscious is advancing astonishingly fast). Those countries mentioned before are not exhibiting a pattern of chance me thinks- it's hard to be amazing when people are attempting to chop ya off at the knees of self confidence. NZ we pop out stunning humans and inventive solutions from our relatively very new country of warriors, helped by our liberal individuality being on the other side of the swing to critical conservative conformity. But we are being exploited; in our abilities to think laterally and creatively and in our relatively limited choices- it's extremely stressful for the majority to try to make ends meet, be frugal and have a decent manner of living in this country and yet we expect those less fortunate and skilled in our society to be able to budget within this economy, and keep up with this pace?! The actual effects of inflation are much more distinct than some % due little or no increase in remuneration for most people. Most don't live for a lifestyle, they live to exist, and the spike in the last five years has been tremendous... actually, we are not encouraged to live for life in the antipodeans on a whole- NZ's work/ life balance is drastically out of whack.
We are constantly getting wedged into a rock and a hard place regardless of what income you are on the situation is unfair. In comparison to what other country's dollar will stretch to it's challenging to buy food at a reasonable price to make nice things, but the majority can't go out and eat economically; automobile are expensive to run yet travel around our own cities and country is comparably pricy also; basic phone, power, gas and other human necessities are at the far end of the scale globally, yet alternatives also pack a sucker punch... and trust me- this list is extensive. There are major sociological effects happening from this- people are being restricted in their abilities to socialise, to talk to others and to relax, to feel good about treating themselves, to communicate, confront feeling awkward by interacting and to focus on group participation. I have direct experience on what it is like to live on $180 p/w in NZ, and I can tell you, from a smart, healthy and resourceful human- it is immensely complex.
To start with though, the most powerful thing a person can do to help their circumstances (and this actually has a big impact on the environment also) is modify their diet and where they buy from. Healthy brain = less panic/ overload = new ideas + it also does it's bit, by feeding the chain of agricultural/ product development and local jobs/ producers, to stop supporting the demand on palm oil and fossil fuels- and that is a considerable chunk of what is causing the most damaging methane & CO2 emotions and a good proportion of global warming (although I hold some more unorthodox theories as to the other contributing factors. Inevitably ya'll, we're destined to get off this dot). I'm not talking 'keeping-up-with-the-Joneses' ridiculously overpriced commodities- I'm talking quality, smart shopping for necessary basics and the building blocks to a healthy human. Probably no surprise to you then that I am creating endeavours which directly impact these equations.
We can only do what we believe we can achieve and if this is not being reinforced by positive affirmation around us, then the person must learn how to have surety from within. Everything starts in the mind. Resources & skills are only 50% without emotional support. My hand was dealt acutely lacking in the latter except for those I have built relationships with, including my family who I adore; so this has meant I have had to work extremely hard at developing my inner core- the kind that does deserve being extensively stretched and exercised! To become the woman I am, and do the things I do, I worked, and continue to work, through odds immensley and densly stacked against my favour. Adversity is the fire to my ambition. As a beautiful human once said to me 'The brightest stars shine from the darkest nights', but pwaooaahh- ya know, I've worked incredibly hard to get to the point where I fucking love being me. I see it as a changing thing; we develop, we transition, we get older, things move about and look different; we feel different and so does this appreciation of ourselves- it's a dynamic thing that takes work, nurturing and kindness.
NZ, we are extremely good at integrating and creating new concepts- but I think we need to be much more careful with what we are doing to ourselves as a nation because as a group we are directly influencing this 50% of what makes us happy and successful- a little less youngest child syndrome and take note from our big brothers Asia, Middle East (Jordan is a prime example), Canada, economically stable Europe and especially Japan. I've brought this up before, but there are a huge amount of similarities between our cultures and interesting cultural & social strategies that Japan has held onto, and modern processes they have rejected at large in order to protect their population and wellbeing- I am taking note and implementing these. NZ we are world leaders in technological integration- not all of this is fabdab. Instead of governmentally sucking on the idea tit of perceived 'Mother UK' there are much more dynamic and fascinating countries with comparative histories of multicultural integration and cool new ways of growing healthily together.
BUT, I would like to point out- WE ARE ACTUALLY AN INCREDIBLE NATION RIGHT HERE AT HOME AS NEW ZEALANDERS with our own ideas, inventions and developments. I've recently been in conversation with people about personal imperfection being perfect (it's the first rung on this bigger ladder)- well it's a bloody hard concept for most people in NZ to wrap their heads around because the collective mentality and socio-psyche is that everything needs to be better/ changed/ upgraded and that what they admire is predominantly offshore. 'What's the next big thing?!' everyone is racing for- WE ARE THE BIG THING YA'LL. When that choking rat-race is being pumped at us from all angles- how could anyone expect a human to be happy in themselves at an individual level?! We need to stop running and re-appreciate walking. I'll tell ya, it's an incredibly hard thing to grow into and achieve here.
We are not brought up encouraged to love ourselves- that would be arrogant and complacent, which ironically is actually totally the opposite, but it's not promoted that way. Somehow in this country, you are expected to achieve great things, but not act or feel within yourself that you are a great thing. Thats not how it works. NZ is not self assured and neither are our people. This mindset is incredibly damaging and very complicated to counteract. We require unity in diversity, promotion of our strengths and combined individuality as a nation and the real community role models within; representation of capable and strong individuals in leadership roles- especially women, a complete change in the delivery and presentation of our current events from doomsday to truthful and factual (yeah ok, that one might really be a pipe-dream), honest recognition of our jealous and slice-y ways of thinking, admission that we are no longer 'clean & green' and need to pull our socks up to meet international standards, and a bloody big endorsement on the variegated unique abilities forged from existing here that makes us so immensely ingenious, eclectic, creative, practical, skilled and fantastic. Yes, individual that is you, you friggin rainbow of a human, YES, NZ that is actually how you stand as a world leader on the international stage.
Two years ago, leading up to departing for Japan I was working 40+ hours a week managing a creative team and 30+ more hrs p/w on Moena Moxham commercial and personal design projects. Add in on top conceptualising, making and creating all the art, PR & marketing, website design, authorship and maintenance, promo and also undertaking fashion shows, VIP and marketing events, professional photoshoots, visual merchandising, training and hiring new staff, stylist services, buying seasonal fashion collections + more. Moena Moxham is the whole shebang from accounting, sourcing, design and everything in-between, there is a team of one. On top of that I was walking an hour to work each day plus being on my feet for all of it minus breaks; 3 classes of cardio/ yoga at the gym, 2 sessions of swimming, snowboarding on the weekends with motorbiking at any other opportunity, some serious health issues I was not listening to, and a ridiculously regimented diet... oh, and a colourful social life. Which facet shall we pick as most stressful/ complex? Financial, physical or mental? Conceptual, production, logistics or being overtired, unwell and hangry (yes the adjective of being angrily hungry)? I did what I needed to do at the time to complete things to the standard I wanted and I loved it, but the level of drive; the level of pressure and stress looking back on that particular set up was tremendous. Life did not get less demanding or simpler after that; I choose elaborate and formidable; but I made very decisive decisions and choices to arrange things in new capacities.
'Don't worry'- urg that statement is stupid- we've all been in that, but we can nominate to shelve it when it starts to shard and disintegrate into panic *eesh I respect how hard this can be. This goes against the grain of everything we are being told and shown (we need something to fix our problems, and that stressed comes hand-in-hand with success *all bullshit) and more problematically, in some cases our basic primal instincts. There is no algorithm or back up plan for living life, but there are an infinite amount of ways to express it- watch what happens in the next few years at how anxiety related conditions will skyrocket, very few people are being taught how to back out of excessive information, focus on what actually fits their ideas, organise and recognise emotions, and cultivate (yeaaah- it's a garden that gets weedy) inner calm; and, I believe we are actually reproducing more of this trait. Yep, inner calm requires transitioning through boredom- how unplugged would you be prepared to go to restore equilibrium? It's not in a concession card, an appointment or long weekend retreat... next time you go to the pub, try not taking your phone eh and see how you manage without something to tap into... not easy now is it, but you used to do quite well without one of these (if you're old enough to remember)... would you like to be like that again? Gosh though- the amazing things people will achieve blows my mind- in a basic sense, if you can see/ think it, you can do it! Humanity is becoming more empowered to show off personal expression and that is mighty exciting stuff for all of culture.
My life has absolutely no precedent to my concepts and direction and that used to be extraordinarily daunting if I stopped and had an excessive amount of time to take stock, because what works for me sometimes, in no way should if you saw it on paper. There is no one giving me coaching or support on this stuff either- the buck starts and stops with moi. If ya've ever worked in a creative industry where you are needed to complete a project to deadline, you may be accustomed with the procrastination right to fire-up-ass-hours-before-deadline technique (ahh, my younger years on occasion were peppered with this doozie). We always pull through with an idea, LIFE always pulls through with an idea & it can rearrange much, much more than that, but it tends to come right at peak crunching pressure time with hoops, big fuck-off ones to jump through- but take some solace in that. it. always. happens.
There are an infinite amount of variables and things that can happen between and around a worry- the human brain just doesn't have a large enough comprehension to even begin to think them all over or make them all up; it does however like to get stuck on ones that flare fantastic anxiety into the concept like a wailing depressed banshee. We can all be too smart for our own good. Look at the stickler and then hand it up & over or mentally drop kick it like it's hot and recognise the whole thing is useless- it's pointless to try and understand it all; things will have changed by the actual time arrises at the issue. My tactic at this location after seeing I'm having a bit of a freakout is to pinpoint something refreshing that brings me joy and go dooo itttt, or daydream (meditate/ pray/ zone-out- it's all the same buzz) for 5 minutes on anything that's a ball of blissful. What I can advise, is that thinking 'urg- shyyyittt I'm worried! Ok- I'll just go on the internet for a bit' very rarely helps the situation. Banshee just gets access to more fantastical tangents to get creative- my alternative is fresh air. Anxiety really likes imagination and analytics. Logic and love have a tug of war relationship especially under pressure where the former wants to shoot anything irrational down, which is a good portion of what love is made of- stick your heart like glue to the concept and keep going. Hell, my use-by-date might be tomorrow evening for all I know, I'd rather not go out using up hours being a dickhead. What's insanity- modern life & our own expectations, compulsive thought or feeling down sometimes?!
So are these ‘illnesses’ (i.e. anxiety, depression, racing-head-state) Creativity’s unwell brother? Sure, I think so, we've gotta get a bit of blah with the whiz-bang. Brilliance doesn’t come without collateral and symptoms which are intricate. But we must learn how to look after and manage ourselves with adversity otherwise how can we possibly think that we can have the good parts also? Once a person faces things and recognises them, in the smallest sense; they can make them manageable, and in the greatest, overcome them completely- don't believe me? I am living proof of doing just this; overcoming what others call 'impossible' and 'incurable'. We cannot medicate the bad times and still expect to enjoy the gloss. The world is conforming to vanilla yet wants exceptional sprinkles- the equation doesn’t work this way; evolution is developing complexities not simplicities.
We are getting faster and more powerful within a mind blowing-ly small space of time- it was only the early 1890's that humans went from travelling 48km/hr to 555km/hr in the 1940's with the invention of the jet engine (a period of 50 years)- the effect this has on the brain, our movements and subsequently our evolution has been monumental. Stating science that humans have been around for between 1.8 - 1.3 MILLION years, being able to move between 16- 24 km/hr, this is rather totally incredible right?! We are within a velocipedic age; and one it seems which has an ever widening gap between ignited creativity & complacent ignorance and stupidity. Monkey see, monkey think, monkey do; Monkey has got damn smart in the last 100 years on what we are putting in those bananas and exposing our thoughts to eh... but there is now an ever increasing enormous amount of personal responsibility required upon the individual to earn how to filter and work through all this stuff. Our children are going to achieve the currently unimaginable- you really think your way is the only way? Those ways will be using our dreams as standard mortar. It may be worth noting in here that some classifications of mental attributes are now over 110 years old and from a time with none of the convolution or stress of modernity.
Here’s a more contemporary (but ancient Eastern) concept that’s become media popular of recent ‘Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment and the flow of internal thought, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.’… and if someone has bad intentions, their flow of thought has gone a bit hay-wire or is bent out of shape we have psychosis?… that internal conversation can at times be not all sweetness and light, and sometimes the external situation is pretty damn horrific also. Interesting partitions huh. Careful who's critiquing; one will say crazy, another will say connected. We are training people to explore consciousness yet some light up like a Christmas tree when others don't get it ‘right', it’s more intense than they like or expect or they are participating in behaviours to try and moderate themselves. Not a particularly fun process if people are being made to fear the more complex and darker parts of it- bit like false advertising 'Come find yourself! But you might not like what you find so be ready to explore your inner turmoil also!' might be a fairer tout. There are unusual things at the roots of problems. We can't just walk away and not explain how to ease through also. Humanity is waking up, are we admonishing those who have already gone for a run, and those who are still snoozing?
I came across this interesting article while surfing the web from Schizophrenia Research recently. One which I have to admit made me mad thinking that we categorise ‘difference' as a ‘disorder’ but one of interesting relevance all the same. It basically describes every artist and designer I know…
“History suggests that the line between creativity and madness is a fine one, but a small group of people known as schizotypes are able to walk it with few problems and even benefit from it. A new study confirms that their enhanced creativity may come from using more of the right side of the brain than the rest of us. In the spectrum between normal and insane, schizotypes generally fall somewhere in the middle. While they do not suffer many of the symptoms affecting schizophrenics, including paranoia, hallucinations and incoherent thoughts, schizotypes often exhibit their own eccentricities. "They may dress or carry themselves in a strange way," says Bradley Folley, a graduate student in clinical psychology at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the lead author of the study. "They're not abnormal, they live normal lives but they often have idiosyncratic ways of thinking. Certain things may have special meaning for them or they may be more spiritually attuned."
The link between creativity and psychosis has largely been based on anecdotal evidence and correlation studies. The Vanderbilt study is the first to investigate the creative process experimentally using brain-imaging techniques. The researchers defined creativity as the ability to generate something new and useful from existing products or ideas. "Creativity at its base is associative," Folley told LiveScience. "It's taking things that you might see and pass by everyday and using them in a novel way to solve a new problem." The researchers conducted two experiments to compare the creative thinking processes of schizotypes, schizophrenics and normal control subjects. In the first experiment, subjects were shown a variety of household objects and asked to come up with new functions for them. For example, all three groups would be asked to come up with possible uses for a needle and thread. While the normal and schizophrenic controls came up with pretty typical responses like sewing or stitching, one schizotype said that if a person was poor but wanted to get engaged, he could use the thread to make a ring and use the needle to write "I Love You," in the sand.
In the second experiment, the three groups were again asked to come up with creative uses for everyday objects, but this time their brains were monitored using a brain-imaging technique called near-infrared optical spectroscopy. The scans showed that both sides of the brain in all three groups were active when making novel associations. However, in the brains of schizotypes, the activation of the right hemisphere was much higher compared to brains of the control subjects. Folley speculates that what may be happening is that schizotypes may either have more access to the right hemisphere than the average population or there may be more efficient communication between the two hemispheres.”
Grey matter is fascinating stuff innit. I think that’s quite wonderful if my hemispheres are conversing lol. Re: dressing strange (o.m.g lol) perhaps author you would like to consider that this external expression of our internal self correlates with our inner pleasures, feelings & enjoyments? Not another's expectations, social currents, trends and projections...and that our eclectic selection of items may have sentimental and pre-loved significance instead of being a mass produced consumable? Loving ourselves unconditionally creates a very big game changer in identity; it swings the ratio to internal's favour and removes allocations from external factors and characterisations.
We are not commodities nor our bank accounts, our partners, kids and friends; our cars, what we did or who we were in the past (or 10 minutes ago!), our job titles, letters next to our names (your PHD would pale in comparison to the skills needed to keep up with my life.. and if I felt so inclined I could study for one) or roles we play; the things we make, the labels in our attire or possessions, what colour, race or sex we exhibit or express, the number of calories we eat or the dimensions of our biceps. How ok stripped back to nothing but you and your thoughts would you really be? If I said that our thoughts and emotions are quite literally accumulating to paint our worlds- what would we consider then? Is it play or is it poison- only the individual has the power to convert what perspective they choose and what bricks they're building with. Tried, tested, proven. I never talk about things I don't have first hand experience with; I live by 'walk the talk' otherwise I shut the fuck up am well prepared to defend my stance with an open mind. I'm interested in sharing experiences not overriding them with mine. I've never studied in depth religion, psychotherapy or spirituality, and I totally don't give a fuck about self help books- I care about doing & feeling things, full stop. And ya know what, to date, that has served me incredibly well- cos it's all about what works for the individual- do stuff; share yourself and ya find things. I have been surrounded, and will encounter in the future, shit-storms of suffering and complications, but I have a survival method of not focusing on the crap and finding the fixer and the fizz, and I genuinely like to help. I live my dreams, what a luxury to fight for the pleasures within them; they are hard, complicated and challenging- but they're all mine and I take ownership and responsibility for them. Survival- yes life can at times be combat, but you won't hear me coming- I just get on and do what's needed to do the right thing.
Consummate love, in basic, is comprised of three components- commitment, intimacy and passion. When we do things we like and invest ourselves into activities that bring us joy we in turn become creative, by being illuminated to different positive associations in other aspects of our lives. Genius is being able to take this level of interrelation into many varied and diverse topics. If we have nurtured the power to be able to invest this type of discipline, engagement and enthusiasm then our potential becomes limitless. I was about 6 when the honour of making the family Christmas pudding was imparted to me through my Nana. My Mama inquired what the secret was to making my creations so good and I looked up at her and said "Love and happy thoughts". As any artist will tell you, precision, investment, nostalgia and sentiment are the most powerful ingredients of all.
Hokaaay, but back to exploration; so we could reduce that creativity and genius (both qualities which are not exclusive and we all share in varying proportion) can additionally be the ability to investigate madness and come back enriched not scarred; by having the belief that somehow we can find a way back, not necessarily the way we went in. That would make psychosis when you are lost inside in loop- and the primary difference being a trust in process, time, disposition and a faith/ playfulness in new ideas and thought enlightening a way to come back to ‘even’. One person’s madness is another’s normality; if we are conditioned to a particular experience; sugar- the afternoon hit, wines at night, nicotine for anxiety, excessive use of technology, adrenaline activities, smoking pot- then a slight psychosis is everyday existence. Sanity can be as confronting as addictive ‘normality’. It’s not hard to have a genuine touch of insanity- most people try it out when they diet. That obsessive, thought filling, anxiety ridden process is exactly that of a psychotic, but we would be labelling most of the world looney if we wanted to really explore and relevantly attach these labels.
Current definitions of qualities are inadequate and outmoded in my opinion. They never classify anything in a positive light and make people feel like they have conditions. What personality was a ‘control subject’ eh? We all have idiosyncrasies which can be defined, but how is focusing on this constructive? To me, in some instances, it's more like an excuse to be able to fall back upon instead of having the balls to just get on with life and work hard without a pass out card. I have every right to hate humanity and the world for what I have experienced in periods over my life, or use some of my qualities as crutches but that would be such an easy option. Instead of picking holes in characteristics and freaking out at rare and unusual ones, I can offer a much easier way to ascertain someones soundness of mind- look them in the eye. You can see madness as clearly as you can see happiness and love.
Soo to some it seems the coin has two sides as follows…Spiritual awareness is delusions… utilising visualisations is having hallucinations…. Self assured is arrogant, avant-garde is reactionary and eccentric… humm, Thank goodness I exist in a society which has the capacity to embrace difference and individuality as valuable and commendable attributes. Yet, it is also one which has adeptness in converting them to impediments- however it is personal choice whether to burden oneself with any of that, yep, although that can be a mighty hard one to grow a thick skin upon when it comes from close quarters. Let it be known- it is not easy being passionate and distinctive- never has been and never will be especially if civilisation continues on our current paths of appraisal. It's not 'easy' for anyone, but that doesn't mean we can't salvage fun outta bad situations or make difficult enjoyable. Just stop for ten minutes and observe in generalisation the cars that drive past and the colours of dress; black, white, grey, oOO naaaavvy, black, cream...silver, grey. That's a visual indication of the psychology of those running with the pack -they have even become the same shape and style- very different to the vibrancy of 30 years ago. Anyone seen the latest Ford & Aston Martin, kind of embarrassing really. Shake that plumage baby, I guarantee it's not really the aforementioned colour palette and preen the feathers of others who are brave enough to show theirs... additional thought: it's concerning stuff when a societies definition of a 'successful person' becomes akin to being able to function like a machine...
Why does man think that by taking a chemical that they have made, to expunge a quality which they ‘don’t like’ is a good thing? Where do you think we are connecting into with what emotion with those pain killers, the hooch, the pharmaceuticals, the coke or the heroin? It's an increasing version of the same stuff, except that last one; that's one bangin' ride on the Starlight Express and then it's incrementally down hill from there; not particularly sustainable odds (calling ya'll in middle America)... p.s your body doesn't know if it's from a pharmacy or a dealer... Spaces that with time we can train ourselves to find. To get there without using a crutch though comes with honest recognition of what we like about our vices and treats and why some things have adverse effects- like if you need a bit of courage then a tiddle is gunna do the trick; but if you're already lion hearted then alcohol might push that a little too far; if you're searching for a bit of love- sugar might hit the spot, needing to drop out for a bit, pain relief or a change of perspective- toke away, but if they are soft spots; if dealing with pain and other emotions is what we are hiding from, then they may have the propensity to become patches of excess also. (Just a side note on that marijuana subject too; for any of it's beneficial qualities, it reduces one our most powerful tools; memory). Whatever we ingest is either muddling or enhancing those millions of neurons in our brain & guts- being balanced takes into account recognition and awareness of the impact of these decisions. Nothing wrong with exploring and finding these things- it's extremely important to learn how we individually work and if needed, to teach ourselves to undo and let go of something. Understanding ourselves might be initially helped by these things, but inevitably to get into the really good stuff, things start to go- maybe that's not your path- it's all choice. Plus, keep in mind- actions are vices also- going to the gym, ringing your Mum, thinking about a particular thought repetitively, sunbathing in excess, needing to see how many 'likes' an Insta photo has, being rigid of opinion.. open's up the options now doesn't it.. it's impossible to be human without them.
Eliminating (not a viable pursuit- it comes back to bite us on the ass) or refusing long-term to recognise a negative emotion is not dissimilar to deciding to remove sharks from the eco system and expecting it not to effect the oceanic structure and equilibrium of the food chain, because one in a zillion eats a surfer that looks like food or cos we really like the taste of 'em. I’m sorry, I believe in having to learn how to love the squidgy bits and that we are built the way we are, with our special qualities because we have the people, resources and inner attributes to comprehend them- that doesn't mean they have to disappear either- I meet a lot of people who are desperately trying to remove these things- can't we leave them be? they are important, to learn how to include them within us is the key. If I don't learn about mine, what use would I be to my family, children or friends in supporting theirs?- we pass on traits and share likenesses. Nothing seriously awesome in life is easy and if we want the big pay offs we must do the big work. This is the difference between average and exceptional.
My contributions to culture, business, the community, academia and my health and success as a human comes from being able to ask myself within for comparisons and similarities between learnt and tested elements in order to understand new puzzles. It requires a lot of patience to follow these thoughts; an ability to be able to think through concepts and question derivatives, complexities and conundrums and explore what others may think is irrelevant. Years of dedication, commitment, work, conditioning, and time spent developing skills, craft, relationships and personal qualities from shitty into better. That’s how we break boundaries, find new things both internal and external and make the unattainable within grasp.
‘Healthy’ has many facets, and many different colours; life is irregular. There are horrifically high unrealistic expectations floating around about this and ‘normality’ (what the hell IS that?! trying to define this is like categorising the shape of every grain of sand) and blatant bullshit imagery being touted as thriving pictures of health- they are mirages. I’m going with what feels good for the person involved and doesn’t hurt them or others- that may not reach another persons expectations but that is none of their business to be honest. In my experience it all comes down to equanimity- the proportion of complications is always balanced by the proportion of healing and good- but this undertaking requires recognition; not by trying to rub out things, and it's in different measures for each of us. If we don't face the complicated days and feelings we cannot be blessed with the exceptional occurrences which are the rewards.
Personally I try to keep it simple: use courage and be kind.
is filled with vibrancy
Cities of sleepy
a crystal chain gang
unaware they are living for
The tarseal is twisting beforehand
Pursue the pebbles;
find new ground, embrace a new route
To feel strange is ok
Take foolish dreams and
twist them in a flurry like
with sticky coloured fingers
Dance with the momentum
rebel against confines
Unwrap the prickly blanket
sullenly snapped around what is
it won’t get cold
Poke holes though the weave
Feel the world a
it doesn’t bite
unless left hungry
by our own actions
Make a mark, aim for it and then realise it
fades into insignificance and the
develops shaking like a Polaroid
Loneliness confronted and converted
to faith by Truth
reconnected with Spirit present
Heart talks with Mind
Less guru competition
Consider what is and isn’t
is it? Don’t be sure
fear to fervour for
Why do you feel entitled to a life without pain, yet filled with love?
Over the last eight months I decided to take a closer inspection of my personal creative process. A logical and systematic study of the methodology and symptoms of each of the passages I work through, in correlation with creative patterns I had already ascertained. Each time I decide what I want to achieve next, I go through this process. We all live an emotional line which waves and dips, yet I feel compelled to share my recognition of some of the more difficult side to being able to make ideas become tangible, because this part is very rarely discussed and I believe, it’s actually the most important and valuable part.
Each time incrementally the stakes get higher; as in I propel myself though a more challenging state of change with more audacious projects because the evaluation of my limits, the risk involved and skill base has changed and grown. These ‘states’ are not all pretty, and although there is a lot of understanding out there about making and creating; the therapeutic outlet or physical result and beauty of creativity, very few people talk about the complications and challenging passages within the same context. 'Creative Process' is just art wank snobbery- we all live this pattern in varying degrees; where I draw another does sums, where I fly another gardens... 'creativity', in my opinion, essentially is listening to yourself and what makes you fizz.
Growing up in Wellington, an uber artistic town, has given me a unique insight into how we think, make and behave, and how this works and shapes a community. What I have noticed through my own life, and by being gifted with the ability to critique and reflect on my own process is that the ‘down’ side is right where the intervention of medicine, detrimental clinical and social evaluation and the labelling of psychological ‘disorders’ or symptoms (either self diagnosed or external) can come in. Raise the hands for a stress jammer, a blank out, pain relief and a comfort giver; Western culture point ya fingers at eccentric, out-there, weird, crazy or sick. I think this is also why a lot of people hide away and deal with these patches in private- it’s not easy not having it together all the time, and who wants to open themselves up to others for judgement on top of it?!
In the past I have tried all sorts of different strategies for self-help in these times and it is in these periods that if the sensitive creative brain is allowed to go a little too loose in it’s own attempt to remedy itself, that the shit can start to go pretty pear shaped. The most powerful help is talking. Why I am talking and writing is because as we evolve and become better at doing things, humans also become less tolerant to fixing bumps with hard work and time and want easy answers to bad stuff which is the better-at-doing-things brother from another mother. Re: previous post, ignorant appraisal is undone by open communication.
In my teens after battling with depression I tried medication. I lasted about two weeks. It made me feel ‘just below’ the living line and it killed any type of colour or creative spark I had in me. I felt in a fog, I feel beige and my vision and recognition of colours and concepts slid off and was muted. But I also knew that my behaviour was not helping. I was drinking heavily, I wasn't sleeping, I was in a very complex living situation, having just turned 16 I was at university and working to support myself; diet was completely up the whack and I was partying like a ninja- wild extravagant awesomeness but with complicated repercussions. I knew by being honest with myself, that that spark was actually my ticket to life and that my conduct and the situations I was into needed to be adjusted, NOT the spark.
I knew what I felt and I knew I had to work through organising myself by doing the hard yards or the alternative was mighty unappealing, also I could see a pattern and was intrigued about it- I knew then that the dark was as valid a part of my gift as the light. Plus I came up with some pretty cool stuff in those patches. I also had recognition from within my family that this was something I could learn how to manage and use to my advantage- very important opportunity there. I was encouraged to understand and to sense what happened or changed within myself and to notice patterns. My family heritage is very scientific/medical/mathematical and very creative/artistic (Oh and racing drivers, an art historian, explorers, a prime minister and persons of political standing, gold miners, a land information strategist, a missionary to China, agriculturalists, a bareback hose riding milliner- and that's only a selection of recent generations...umm rather strong willed souls…) but on track, what I want to illustrate is that patterns of thought and emotion were already recognised within my family- coupled with a ‘get on with it and sort it out’ attitude. I could talk my way in and around a psychoanalyst like a corkscrew; it was up to me to get through this, tbh- no-one else had the skills because no-one else had the whole back history of what happened and was happening, and it was so goddamn unusual and complex by that time I couldn't be bothered trying to explain it all.
3rd stage of creative process is the ‘this is shit/ I am shit’ area, Otherwise known as ‘going to ground’, ‘working through the nobblies’ or ‘dropping out of the system’; its not really physical, this very hardest part of the process is psychological, but it does have physical fallout. It. Is. Really. Difficult. It is where questioning, doubt, anixety, freakouts towards self abilities, self loathing and the unnerving state of living with a different brain activity resides. It is dark, can feel unending and hopeless, and very confusing. To me it feels like being shattered and rebuilt; not only in the project, but in my spirit. It is an integral part of the process, yah, pain and payoff, but as I have got older I have recognised I can also do something productive and target a mental attribute in here alongside working on an idea. I go for something that’s hindering me, festering and is a part of my soul that needs to be unpackaged, remedied and resolved. Not fixed- it’s not broken, it just needs some attention. It is a roadblock to the other side; undertaking has an open-ended timeframe, there is no schedule within this sector; its a progressive process, and it is extraordinary mentally and physically draining, but there is a wonderful feeling of success by getting over the Bog of Eternal Stench. Actually- it really is just like getting held up with Sir Didymus chewing the fat.
Let’s call this ‘going to ground’ as GTG for the sake of my digits and getting this out eh!
The symptoms can be pretty terrifying towards the climax of it- it seems to have an upward bell curve. Exhaustion, excema, hypna and hypnogogic (a type of pre and post-sleep sensory hallucination/ audio/ dream state that happens on the edge of consciousness), muscular tension, cravings (for all sorts of things, other ideas; relief really, it’s the point where we hit being creatively over it), very little quality sleep once ya finally get in there aaand the ‘racing-head-state’. This is when it is in hyperdrive. It really is nuts over this period and it can be very scary; continually bouncing around contemplating and searching for things. Once the key emotional concept or idea abstraction has been resolved and illuminated however, quite literally overnight, everything clears up. Actually, that’s kind of scary also because you could really be forgiven for thinking this is all completely nuts- because it is conceptual. There is no physical ball clinking down a slide saying ‘HEY! Ureka! You got it!!’ I just know within myself I’ve had a ‘Ureka!’ and that the circle has past GO again.
Lets roll with this ball image. Because I actually visualise my ideas like that. When I am thinking about what I want to do next, what I'm aspiring towards, what helps others and what is challenging; + if it has become time for a very big overhaul then who and what I want to be, look & behave like, in come the balls and the basket.
I am not only thinking about what I want to achieve, but I am very detailed about aesthetics, logistics, practise and what I need to know within this too. Into the basket over the weeks, months and much longer, ‘big’ heavy ideas come down, quite distinct from general brain chatter ideas and fill it up, sometimes some get taken out and replaced with others, and other times a particular ball grows in complexity. Every day I take them out and play with them, thinking about the attributes and making physical actions towards the things I can do that add towards each. The basket slowly becomes filled with usually about 7 orbiting biggies which break down into more elaborate subcategories- ha, that took a while to figure the gauge. Yer, actually visualised in a whicker basket (my Nana and I used to collect flowers in it), each a different colour and moving, changing and dynamic like nebula. I can slide into each and see how they are progressing. They are things I am working on, things I want to do, make and achieve and all manner of other things, but there is also always one ball about my personal identity- which contains a quality I would like to better, learn, refine or remove and facets within this of my relationships with others, the environment and myself. The diversity of these keeps in balance my obsessive tendency by giving me the freedom to swap between things, especially if one has stalled... or perhaps just spread out that obsession lol
After each ‘project’ or transition, in a type of summary I file and shelve the baskets which pack down origami style from 3D to 2D and are organised into a big khaki metal filing cabinet ‘long term memory’… funnily from my dad’s office that I used to go to when I was a child... I wonder if the next generation thinks of an app logo?? I often go back in this space when I need to dig around for something and re-inflate baskets and withdraw balls. Sometimes searching for a tool or experience which can help in the present, sometimes looking for inspiration or a piece of the jigsaw for an idea. These are decades old- my memory is gargantuan and I can recall events, imagery, sensory incidents, ideas and thoughts back to being a very new infant- wooow I hear you say, yet this has very much been a double edged sword of a gift; it comes with recollection of every bad thing in just as vivid detail.
In my working headspace there are different baskets in circulation too, projects floating in foreground and background and they are not static, they elevate or diminish depending on requirements and validity. Most people try obsessing about an idea with total surrender or desire when they imagine their future partner; holding onto the concept and furnishing it over time. I have trained myself to do just this but over many diverse ideas & investments, and to sustain the development over months and often years. The cool thing about doing this is that these 'dreams', these ideas significantly impact what we do and who we are, because we collect and input activities and behaviours which match our vision. This is why I love encouraging people to find what they love, because by building towards something amazing, fun and great, it in turn helps the individual become just the same thing. Gawd, I could start getting really in depth, but I think it's best I keep to simple in this blog right or things are going to get sqiggly… and well, I prefer organically sharing things with people when the right time arrises within conversations that have relevance to the parties involved.
Dealing with festers, parts I don't like about myself and just general total questioning and tip-the-whole-fucking-thing-upside-down-and-shake-it-it-all-needs-to-be-rearranged mentality is what comes up in the already complex GTG area- yerp, when it rains it pours. Validating it is the mucho grande super key component, it becomes as important as the other balls. Over time, this allows me to come to a level of understanding about whatever it is that time and let it slide away. It’s like a pay-off. This process is only my process because of how I am built and what I can and cannot live with based on my morals and thought patterns, but I know others feel and go through a very similar pattern. My focus (interchange with obsessive nature- these qualities aren't to be scared of; they are mighty useful when channeled into the right zone and honestly, success comes snuggled up with addiction and obsession; it's a matter of dealing with it not being scared of it) knows that my brain needs a type of clarification or monkey chews in loop. I don't like loops, I like resolutions so I can grow into the next thing. Writing about this makes it sound if everything is judged and rigid but it’s not like that, less anal retentive and more playful organic perhaps. Planned and unplanned, flow & structure, control and fluidity; little curling mind waves. Sometimes resolution is quick, other times not so as it bubbles along at life flow.
Over the proceeding project and in the new idea phase, pointers and markers within me and my experiences direct me to what this next dark baby is. There is no question in my heart what it is by the time the balls are clear- there is actually no denying it within myself, and if I try to do so, things happen to very clearly remind me that I cannot wiggle away. In lieu of having bairns of my own I have behaved as if mother to my existence through my actions and my ideas- I think that's a rather wonderful way to exist and fascinatingly there are similarities in timeframe also.
Structured art making is the precursor to GTG. This is a happy and light stage; usually production of the resolution of ideas from the previous project experience, recently London and The Hague. In one light it is not the ‘real’ hard work. I would say that the sailing through the darker waters is actually the greatest art in itself, actually, lets go bigger than that, I really think the best art we make IS life, yes- we are all artists. 'Dark' is not necessarily sad either, it's a different type of energy or situation than that; it's like an emotionally dense and invested area- it can be happy but there is a lot going on.
In the past I have caused myself serious physical damage by not gauging what level of physical activity I can couple with my headspace at this particular time. I have realised I require habitual activities which are not high impact because I hurt myself if I do that- not in accidents but in quantity. I don't realise I’m pushing too hard because I’m trying balance out the level of stress and processing that’s going on in the noggin. Yoga, squash, cardio, swimming, and many others have been in that slot and although they work for the mental side, I have a tendency to take the amount into the extreme because brain is going gogogo- and so body gets pushed to gogogo also. I am a very tenacious animal. Incoming: collateral damage: I put my physical health secondary. Those activities I am passionate about can come back in at a different stage, but I have to be very aware within GTG what I choose and in what proportion. This time my new activities were teaching myself to ride my bicycle with no hands (that's around corners too) and standing tree pose for extended periods with my eyes closed. As I mature, I am better at being able to cut myself some cord and validate taking care of myself- but I think this is what is very challenging maybe more so for some of us than others. Yeah, yeah ‘take care of yourself’ we hear, um- yeah, I am trying to, but I don't have an off switch and I'm focused on bigger things.
Overall the whole system is quite balanced- hence my assimilation with yin and yang, juxtapositions and spectrums because this is a direct reflection of living for me- OOOooo idea! Love it.. hmm hate it… Ok, not so bad.. Ok yeah, really fucking love it! Yet, it takes exertion to get it circulating and keep it so; making choices to change and focus attitudes. Perhaps a more accurate image which correlates to yin and yang, is this system as like ascending a spiral staircase where the light bulbs have blown in spots; the stairs are still there it just takes care, use of different senses and a change of pace to continue escalating. Aim of the game is to advance and make the next progressive move in order to not be stuck on a landing on the same level, or dip backwards; all about timing and sometimes requiring hanging out for a while rather than moving. Duality is the nature of life; where in one place it is day, another has dipped into night. When one is happy, another is sad; when it is summer in one location, another shivers in winter; where a new life is born, another passes away. Without this darkness the very essence of creativity wouldn't exist as it is itself; the left to it's right, the hot to it's cold, the back to it's front.
Cognisant thought and vivid memory has at points made me scared in my life. I am super aware of my conscious; of decisions and why I am doing something. I can give you a very direct reason for every single decision dating way, way back and the ramifications and relationships that has to other components. That has been challenging in my life to learn how to deal with. Awake, and asleep- but what do you do when there is much more ‘awake’ going on and very, very little 'sleep'?! Well, you naturally want to knock yourself out a notch right. All of us do to a certain extent with anything that brings ease; everything has a time and place. We share a very basic primal need for hugs of brain and body.
Unfortunately because of the level of energy zipping in at times, sometimes the more gentle avenues of comfort don't work so well, and some things that others can use have disastrous consequences due to my mental and chemical make up or because I abused them in the past; i.e. sugar. I make my own choices on my own needs and feelings, but over the years not all of these were fantastic, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do and learn through the process. Looking at static sitting meditation for example, my tolerance is comparatively low. It took me a while to realise through all this guru competition and advice out there that my activities were meditation but at a different levels. The experiences I felt as I ‘popped to the left’ or found another space in my cognisant awareness where the motor was powering away in one room, but I had slipped off to another, was a powerful thing to realise. I have been immensely fortunate in my life to be able to fight for what I love, what makes me fizz and happy and hardline into these spaces. It is why I am passionate about helping others find what they adore also, because pinpointing a fizz = happy = learning & retaining = inspiration = healthy = constructive existence.
All the activities and passions I adore and have excelled at were initially introduced or imparted to me through people I have loved, admired and respected (or I was told I 'couldn't do it')- I think there is nothing cooler than being able to pass this type of connection and inspiration on to others. The only control one can have over these life changing meetings is by following what we love to become better and happier people- kinda simple equation aint it- yet the simplest things can often be the most challenging. Affluence affords the ability for a person to make more choices based on feelings rather than solving restrictions, but when you don't have this resource, nor emotional support to have the courage to fight for these pleasures, life becomes immensely more challenging and complex. A little encouragement, a little investment of one-on-one time, goes an incredibly long way in helping another find surety within themselves, their esteem and ideas, and ultimately their success. Interestingly however, life has a way of working with us and helping out with this equation the more that’s powered into it both in action and belief.
My church has two wheels, snow underfoot, clouds as the congregation and a pounding base line like a heartbeat as hymns. The infinite combination of inconsistencies and conditions are my playground and often the adversity of these combinations where I find delight. High winds, night-time, low visibility and howling storms bring me a sense of contentment and connection to being alive; immersed within the energy surrounding me and I perform better within this. The theatricality of my homelands' weather playing a huge part within my comfort and conditioning. I don’t care about where the 'creative process' leads, I just enjoy the moment it currently positions me within. What's the meaning to it all? I'm not interested in figuring that out, or, well there isn't one really to me- I just get on with it is as best possible; I love experiencing all the kaleidoscopic variations. Experiencing not recording- you won't find me with a Go-Pro or camera attached to me or posting heaps of action things- I'm playing not faffing and fucking around, and I'm not interested in participating with others who recording-shaking-their-tail-feathers comes primary to getting out there. Privacy and discretion are important qualities to me and who I am with at the time are the most important people who deserve my undivided and full attention.
I get bored by things I have followed through to fulfilment, or worked through previously, so crave the next step up. Actually I cannot keep humming harmoniously unless I continue to find the next step up because what worked in the past was a for a different me at a different stage, with a different set of variables. ‘Step up’ isn't necessarily an evaluated risk either, it can be, but it also can be just something different. I am far more interested in experiences rather than things and testing out knowledge or phycological tools- hence me shoving my gluttonous spectrum back into a nicer area, or maybe just internalising where it’s not so obvious lol. Actually I think I’m happy to admit that- I’m a mind pig. Sharing time is my #1 most valuable and luxurious commodity.
Determining a safe living environment is immensely important and challenging; predominantly because I do so many different things with a high proportion of change. This time it was much less about supplying and more about reduction or removing. The more you travel, the more you know you need less, and I get a great sense of satisfaction from resolving things using limited resources. I need a little stress to learn, but I am particular about why and where and how much, especially as I can veer quite easily into whoop-nelly-put-the-brakes-on-how-the-hell-did-that-all-get-there territory. Sometimes heart decisions propel me to do something that only later is revealed how important it was for me to jump at that time. Selling Maria on the way back from the Netherlands is a prime recent example. It felt right (in a sad way), the right people had come to light and the process was smooth, it was the ‘right’ thing to do on a emotional, logistical and financial basis, but it wasn’t until later I saw how not having access to being able to jump in my car was a useful tool; some of the best are the missing ones. My car had also become an identity hairy handbrake- I had grown through that woman and wanted to become my next incarnation.
The equation of boredom + self absorption + loneliness (not of people, it's a deeper current) + propensity for greed/ lust/ gluttony (ideas, information, and knowledge; consumption | production & receptor | creator out of balance) = Miss Murcott on the brink of a not good coping strategy and needing self intervention. Self intervention foremost- not action, information, or any other thing but to stop, un-package, breathe and give recognition to not feeling great- validation is tremendously important for me. Location: DEFCON 5; if I shoved anxiety or negative sensations under the blanket at this point I used to resort to a pervious not so good fill. That used to be hard when I was tired, stressed, confused/ feeling isolated; a little lost within an activity, been travelling for many hours or was in GTG. However, understanding this pattern was essential learning in order to become the woman I am, undertake the complex things I do, and develop further within the lifestyle I adore. Most of the time I succeed, and on occasion I epic-ly flop but Ill let ya in on something, as soon as we can define and talk about something, very quickly that thing starts to diminish and become manageable. Without these qualities, I would never have become so good or tenaciously invested into things in the first place; often the compulsion to do something amazing comes from the fire/ anger/ pain of something quite opposite.
Oh, but wait, if you're thinking this is elaborate enough there is another pattern that is added to this as a woman. The monthly cycle of hormonal, physical and emotional complexities associated to just being born in these amazing bodies. What is depression, what is pre-menstrual tension, what is related to the idea, what's just grumpy tummy?! We are built to be the greatest creators of our species, but this comes with intricate attributes. It is like a giant tapestry of different lines of coloured emotional flux and wane; incredibly complex and unique to each of us. Unless I wanted a catalogue of definitions, I was quite happy to discard the labels; rise to the challenge and navigate each day, each combination with it's own countermeasure. The recognition of these patterns are as important as the former- because yes, at some point both GTG and this will align, and whoah nelly that’s one to sail.
As a woman creative in particular there are interesting additional challenges related to this existence, but where I found strength because early on it was like ‘so, we are trying to medicate the essence of what I’m born as/ with?!’. If you know a young creative, perhaps now with a different perspective, the challenges of not only all this, but the pressures of identity, body image, bullying through social media, a recording device every turn just ready to catch you as you discover, explore and play; societal pressure to behave and look a certain way, oh plus figure out what you do and are of corse; you can seriously be forgiven for transgressions no? Actually I think we have a bigger problem with the next generations in that they are too scared to actually let loose. Because what you learn in this necessary process is that you are not the centre of the Universe, no-one really gives a shit and that ya need to get over yourself. Doing something a little too much and going a bit far teaches us a very valuable lesson involving ego and entitlement- a young person can't get this 'oh!' if they can't push the envelope.
There is absolutely no question that there is a particular demographic and profile which is more susceptible to having some complicated challenges, but they are only that. Attributes come with problems, and problems come with attributes. 'Naughty' more often than not, is 'bored' and 'mighty smart' in a misunderstood and frustrated package. I used control over my weight and body image as a young person as a tool for me to retreat back into working with and untangling the first puzzle I had be born with; I wasn't ready for round two at age 10. Nor for the revelations of quite unusual gifts and the awareness that came with so young. My revenge upon the world for complicating my existence by giving me all these cool qualities but quandaries that went with, was to take that fire and turn it internal. It’s hard to talk as an adult- but yet we expect a child and teen to be able to articulate intense feelings from complex circumstances?! It's not an unusual tactic for smart cookies to resort to behaviours which alter sensory perception in the attempt to reprogram themselves and find contentment- strategies that with the influx in accessible information/ knowledge/ introspection and loneliness, will become more and more prevalent within society as we progress. If a person is making stuff or participating in forms of expression; i.e. changing and playing; they're feeling things- these creations say a huge amount about how they are processing life- less focus on the stuff, more on the feel.
All of this sequence recognition takes a significant amount of time, modern world you just don't like this. It also takes a huge amount of faith and belief in personal processes and composition. Some physical; anatomical, biological and hereditary, some cerebral and sensory, and some esoteric. I believe that no way is 'the' way, we are all made up differently- no metaphysical, therapeutic or psychological way by itself has all the answers because that is hooning in one direction with blinkers on. Many terms and classifications are interchangeable too; they are the same thing from different angles. Plus, science has no grasp on feeling- we are utterly unique in how we individually perceive this, there are many variations in intensity and subtle differences between qualities. It takes recognition and use of the whole system together to get this human safe and healthy.
Life can be pretty hypocritical; many 'bad' things are 'good' in different packages, it's just society has attached stigmas associated to one and not the other. My reality sees it that if something is enjoyable and productive then it is valuable, I make my own opinion about whether a tag is relevant. I wanted to learn about myself and who I am by doing the hard yards because I knew I could make myself well, and that the well went with the unwell hand-in-hand. I think this is where the modern world is getting to a bit o’ a problem. We are well and unwell, but people would rather not admit that. There is a lot of fear and competition about pain. A traumatic life experience for me may be just as significant and as painful to you as burning the cookies with all sorts of expectations and pressures tied in. In my experience, the proportion of trauma is always balanced out by periods of healing; what goes up, must come down and vica versa. When a child is screaming after falling over and grazing their knees, we instinctively give love, compassion, recognition to the experience and validate that they are hurting- why is it that as adults this pattern is forgotten? It is only the ego that has an age- the soul is still the child wanting a hug and to be told it's ok.
A huge reason why I went to Japan was because my soul was missing a jigsaw piece of a spiritual element, and I knew it was there. I don't know how, sometimes I just know things; I completely trust my intuition for my requirements. We all have special gifts for our stories but there is a vast amount of work involved in order to hone them. 'Follow the dream', hmm, that always sounds like there is a trail to follow, where I see it as a seek-&-discover and a build in progress through choices. I have resolved many dreams and mastered different vocations (or portions of bigger visions depending on which perspective is taken); one of my special knacks is that I relish, enjoy and seek growth through change. My life has taught me that you can do anything you set your mind to, but it works like a ripple; each layer building upon the former. My mind may be set on something, but my spirit is the one to guide me through the paths to achieve it. Going gang busters independently from very young has meant my boundaries and seeming limitations have been tested differently to the average and I have learnt and honed a sense of sureness in accordance to this. There is validity in a great variation of purposes, but the individual has to sharpen a sense of intuition in order to learn how to trust themselves through making friends with their mind. Couple that with passion, timing, attitude, tenacity, optimism and woooork, and you've got special sauce in the mix. What cannot be overlooked however, is what price are ya prepared to pay for that vision? There is always consequence.
Please lets be clear, I am not denying the benefits of medical or clinical intervention, actually quite the opposite- make up your own mind, but we can mend ourselves much better than most people realise. A closer inspection of a need may highlight that a resolution lies in an alternative avenue; just as constructive but without profiteering and fear attached alongside. And without blanketing the emotion or transferring it, rather un-packaging and recognising it; although sometimes we need to procrastinate or chip off a portion in order to get somewhere, and to have fun! Unorthodox often gets slagged as radical or reactionary- but remember, what is now considered 'normal' at one point itself was unconventional. What works for me, won’t be for another because this thing called life is totally unique with a personal collection of skills, viewpoints and things that have happened along a lifetime. I’m shining light on something complex, misunderstood and rarely discussed because when we hear something that resonates with our stories, it has a profound effect on not feeling so much like a satellite. That can be one sentence in a 1000, it doesn’t need to be the whole heaving set. Or another persons experience can ignite an ‘ahuh!’ set of dot connects inside which is coooool as.
Who I meet along my journey is far more interesting to me than what I accumulate, and those things I do adore I share, use as tools, get the best that I can at the time, play with without abandon and really, really enjoy. Do it once, do it right (and maybe repeat if it's really really great hehe). I have been radiantly flush and I have been stone cold broke for long periods, but often in those latter patches they were the times of the greatest happiness; regardless of either situation I am far more 'rich' than any sum could denominate. I totally fucking feel that- no. bullshit. You can strip me of everything (been there on more than one occasion) and it would now have absolutely no effect upon my mental health or ability to live, survive or rebuild my life. My existence is one of ultimate luxury because experience and connection is my gold and I let nothing define me. Don't get me wrong- I love cash, it's totally necessary and an awesome thing- you're not going to find me in a free-love commune (yeah, tots not my thang); I like commerce. But if I hadn't taught myself to let go of the worry associated with it, I would not be able to focus on elaborate long-term projects because they'd always be undermined by lack of funds.
I wasn't always this way- actually quite the opposite as is the case with taking on most big curves, life can be confusing and contradictory at times. I choose to do this, to challenge myself, to see what happens and how I feel if things drastically change because it makes me confront myself and my priorities. I have been selfish, belligerent, ungrateful, vicious, egotistical, confused, greedy and gluttonous, materialistic, unbalanced, with almost non existent self esteem, broken, lonely, unhealthy and very miserable at times within my life. Some of the most valuable qualities to me now have come from being their opposite and converting them with a desire and dedication to be better. Without 'bad' qualities recognised and in their working uniform, nothing amazing can happen at all; without 'want'; desire or a certain variety of greed, we cannot be better, or be compelled and driven to ambition. Without covering my lack of self esteem at some points in my life with ego, I wouldn't have had the courage to jump when I had to; without at times being self centred, well, I wouldn't have survived- it's just becoming more aware of ourselves though experience, trial and error and testing those boundaries that we can recognise what things really are, where they sit on those shoe lace spectrums and how to navigate, develop or reduce particular attributes. Everything has it's reason for being useful.
Living fluidly doesn't control what emotion gets thrown in on the journey either, it's a case of just sorting it out as it comes; unconventional lifestyles have unusual complications and pressures. Yet, humanity is forgetting that well behaved and ordinary does not make history. With a predilection for critical attitudes and an obsession with flawlessness and rivalry we have a bloody tough environment for kids (adults) to learn who they are and find a unique voice. Time to get uncomfortably comfortable. What happens in my brain by collecting these black ants in white rectangles and sharing them is as magic as what then infiltrates and bounces around in yours after reading. Sharing is caring, but what level of censorship or authenticity this has can make a fundamental difference to whether anything sticks, is beneficial or ignites a spark of inspriation.
‘Going to ground’ resolves itself; it is finite, and it’s followed by ‘This is fucking cool…again’. It is inevitable as the wheel turns, a lot of getting though is just holding on and having the tenacity to not give up or have a wobbly and discard the basket. If the basket is filled with true heartfelt idea loves then they will pull though. It is a just a matter of time, a matter of process and a matter of continuing to make small steps of work towards them through what is presented in the forefront of life within this. What we learn in any undertaking is far more valuable than the thing or result; realisations and epiphanies which shape and refine us. There is method to the madness within this also, if something isn't gelling, leave it lie for a bit, pick up another ball and have a play and see what grows furry in the meantime and pops out of brain chatter.
Humanity enables history to repeat itself because it is all most expect. There has to be faith in what is extraordinary before any pattern or proof in this configuration revels itself. It is there, and it is as fundamental as the molecules that connect us, the world and the Universe, but it requires dedicated energy towards deflecting sabotage, and defence from external and internal attack. We get thrown new and repetitive challenges and tricks to entice us off path, or see whether we'll throw a wobbly; another round on the landing or 'ohh, no, did that last time, new solution required' situations. Every few months over the lat nine I have been tempted by job offers at Peter Jackson's Weta Digital- little fork-in-the-road-carrot-dangles, often appearing right after having gone through a challenge with what I have been focusing on, and initiating me to evaluate my investments and aspirations. Pressure of modern society can easily spark jitters and financial matters can sway many people, but man made paper (eesh, its not even that anymore; numbers and electrical currents) i.e.; cachinga, is not what makes the world go round. Money is not the dominant energy. An idea, a desire, helping someone ya do or don't know, breaking a habit, political change, fixing the leak, resolving an engineering problem, breaking a habit, a pinpointed strategic and productive response to a facet of the changes in climate we are experiencing- it all starts in this pattern with making the next right step for what we are doing at the time. And I'll tell ya a biggie- helping others and changing the world for a better place starts with learning how to change and better ourselves.
People say "well I'm not going to do that, because it won't work and I'll get hurt because I have been hurt every other time". Unless ya leap you don't get rewarded with a fucking awesome that sometimes comes with a little side dish of bad- but once you have had a fucking awesome, you just want more of it, so the bad becomes easier to tolerate. Constitution gets stronger, human gets more prepared and focus is driven on the benefit not the fallout. 'Tackling Life 101' through the metaphor of eating from a dodgy street vendor- delivered by Captain Moxie hot and steaming- eesh lol 'av a laugh, it's not like we get out of life alive!
Now is explained and organised by now- not yester-hour, day, or year. What history has recorded is to learn from, be that as it may, it is only the publicised view of the particular power of the period. Egypt: incredible superpower in it's time- but Tutankhamen may have been a replica of a USA presidential candidate member for all we know. We have no idea what records of amazing events and discoveries were destroyed or controlled by authorities that had more influence. Imagine living in the future and defining and directing events working from our current media situation. Salacious, all the 'its's and 'ism's, bigoted, twisted, distorted; and not what a great proportion of intelligent minds of our time agree with- incredibly dangerous stuff. It's the kid at school who couldn't play Chinese whispers nicely and was too craven to be sincere.
I recently watched Michelle Obama being driven around the Oval Office grounds in a car pool situation with a celebrity singing to pop hits like Beyonce and Missy Elliot, when Boom, Missy appears in the back seat. Three quarters of my friends were adamant she was in the car and it was real, until I pointed out the very faint differences of colour gradient in the back window, the green screen residue cut-out of the superimposing of images together, and the fact that Michelle and her movements were never seen in the same shot- i.e. it was an actresses hand that had been inserted. How easy it is for a person's truth to be constructed, and what's the collateral? If it has importance to them and their journey, does it matter if it is real or manufactured? Needing to think that Missy and Obama were in the same car together may have relevance to propelling a person to do something extraordinary further down the line.
In the same situation, Michelle had just talked about how she was off on a tour of the Middle East promoting education of women and unobstructed access to information. So, encouraging a different culture to conform to a another's without regard to the social construct of female/ male relations and roles?... And because educating everyone is all fantastic right? Because there aren't elements of doing that that make another a rebel and revolutionary (to their partners, their families, their community)... but hold on, so this informed and aware Libyan woman is now thinking and digesting incredible (uncensored?) information and doesn't agree with or take interest in the prepackaged stuff she comes across and seeks her own truth for her own culture... Oh, right, now she has become a terrorist.
When I travel I am no longer a New Zealander, I consciously attempt to leave my preconceived notions in one corner of myself while I absorb, assimilate and acquire things which are radically different and opposite to who and what I 'am'. I am changing, but I'm not requiring others to do so. New culture, new religion, new location, new rules, new role; scrub the pre-existing format. This behaviour is the action of what everyone demands, yet seem unaware of how to procure; why would someone give respect if it is not shown in kind? We talk of 'globalisation' and of 'free sharing', yet those who are in positions of authority proclaiming liberty are not the fair children from the sandpit who shared their time and talk, toys & sandwich with their dark skinned Muslim friend from Asia. Peoples' people are much easier to find, try your bartender, your shop assistant, your nurse and those at the frontline of service. Globalisation starts with interaction; it starts with sharing that peanut and jam, and I am proud to say NZ, you are well on the path with this as a truly multicultural, celebratory and inclusive society, but on a global scale, ooph I shudder. Globalisation? Ya want the resources but not the problems? The wheel of fortune has never liked veracity and propaganda comes in the most silky of packages.
As of this week I have pushed through a rather nuggety patch for a little while at least. I have come to understand a game plan much better and the equations of what propel me to undertake different behaviours and new actions which have beneficial outcomes. I have made space within myself for improved and alternative information and continued working forwards, helping others in the process. I am immensely grateful for where I am, what I have and that I am me. Now it’s time for the next passage, enough naval gazing, yer, completely inherent to this cycle but all within balance and in it’s own time.
Right, brain, who feels like a game of ball bingo?!
I knit the chasms as best
I can manage
Slip stitch over rivers of
sadness and self loathing
Rushing torrents with
Crashing and raging below by the evening
At torrential full current
relentless hours of navigating boulders, hidden branches and debris
I go under
and pop back up
Weak, limp and battered
I pull myself to the cliff top
Night a gamble of refuge or ambush
The New Day
Gratified with the sun beating on my face
Head bowed with relief, respect and regard
Experience does nothing to harden me
by breaking me
as I crouch damp and dripping;
I never completely dry
My heart seeping as I leap from the cliff arms extended with defiance
Cat and mouse that torrent plays with me
And one day I will not resurface
But what she does not realise
That every crack becoming me
the shatters and shards
Fragment into less human
All this ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labelling of things is causing mucho problemo. It is not that a thing or an action is ‘bad’, it is that we need to understand through knowledge and information how to navigate it. Every single thing has an upside- but if we encourage people to label in black and white and not be able to be flexible about the entire package, when slips, blips or the spectrum is moved out of perspective, the inevitable feeling of the person involved is one of lack and negativity; of never being able to be ‘good’ or reach unmaintainable expectations; from themselves and those around them. That they too have been sucked into the label and are now categorised as ‘bad’. This extraordinary display of self, peer and societal pressure is crippling.
A good example right now is the 'war on sugar', (although 'war on ............' can be inserted in here)- urg even the terminology makes me shudder as it sets us up in a brace and fight mode. The media has an enormous part in spinning storms of terror; pinning people against each other; igniting and fuelling panic and suspicion into our most sensitive individual and societal issues. Most people aren't strong enough, or invested in seeing through this bullshit, but the effect this is causing across any issue that can cause anxiety is criminal. If the mind is filled with thoughts and images that correlate with prejudice and anger, this WILL be reflected back. You ever noticed how when you want something you see it everywhere, well flip this and work it from the opposite and you get the same outcome. There is no difference to this being a possession, a person, a feeling or a situation. People don't understand that this type of attitude emanates off them and that others can sense it. It is inevitable there will be more destruction and terrorism, more and more it's all we can see unless there is active change towards personal behaviour. I say this because holding media outlets accountable is impossible. Stoking peoples drama is pure incitement; the kid on the edge of the sandpit, lighting it and standing back watching while others burn.
When it came to sugar I was a garden variety junkie. Absolutely no different to handing a loaded syringe with heroin to an addict, with exactly the same mental and physical fall out, but with far more accessible dealers. To add to the complication though, we all need a little food love in our lives once in a while. I am already filled with lots of passion and emotion, I don't need to be jacked up any further, especially when I am feeling sensitive. Feeling guilty, shamed, hyper anxious and that the range is 'bad' is not constructive, and doesn't validate being able to enjoy a life pleasure in moderation through being educated about what option is best. Seeing 'health star ratings (of like 1/5) doesnt make a person feel great either- has anyone stopped to think how this is effecting our abilities to validate enjoyment??! I focus on matching what I need with what I am feeling and not skirting around the issue- If my brain is really needing chocolate- that that it shall have, but what variety & proportion I endorse gifting myself is very important. And gift I do- I make a proper deal about it being a beautiful and deserved award.
Sugar was my drug for comfort, to ease loneliness and give self love, but because of my mental and chemical make up, it used to have disastrous consequences. It took an inordinate amount of courage within this society as a woman to say 'I love and hate my food' and just like any passionate love affair, it was a bed of roses. Unwrapping the shame associated with the behaviour and digging out the essential good thing I was trying to help myself with by wanting to veer off and reach for a stress filler, was the nucleus in being able to accept and learn how to live better. I make better mistakes tomorrow. I accept progression not perfection and prefer to train my focus on the perfume, not the thorns. Training by choice on the positive as a survival method to information overload.
Finger pointing and disgracing through high-moral snobbery is how shame grows. This is the gift a lot of humanity is burdening each other with when there is nothing to fear or be disgraced about, no matter how icky it is on the outside or inside.
Shame is very different to guilt. Guilt is the productive movement of shame; where the person has realised something is amiss, is not comfortable with it, and is making a manoeuvre in order to better the situation. Shame is a much darker, festery and evil demon and this lurks, morphs and destroys from the inside out. It is a tremendously elusive and deceptive creature to trap and is bundled in layyyyyyers of camouflaged situations, behaviours and feelings.
Shame comes from getting the behaviours associated to love messed up, and it is why it is so hurtful. It solar flares right on our Heart. My greatest loves had for many years impenetrable barracks around them made up of disesteem, but as I made headway I realised the actions were of the best intention. They were coping strategies in order to maintain protection and they were not to be feared or used as a whip upon myself, but it also was my duty to control lashing out in fear towards others that saw this pain too. Unfortunately, it is the ones we love who have the ability to see these flashes, because they are a reflection of their own sensitivities and in order for most to feel they are in control of their world, they can belittle, demean and act with anger and persecution upon those who outwardly display, what they inwardly dislike and fear. Yes, coping strategist and addict are one and the same; we are all addicted to, or using something for comfort. Yet, by taking a positive spin on the grey, we can unburden shame and replace it with hope.
The freedom that comes from relinquishing persecution of ourselves and removing these labels brings true liberation and joy towards the human psyche as a dynamic entity, rather than a tagged and boxed collection of qualities that need to be ‘fixed’. Nothing is ever broken. But neither is it another's ‘fault’. What happens, happens from the accumulation of components that create the environment for a perfect storm and all of these qualities can be rationally unpacked. It is how we personally continue to roll with the individual and collateral damage that is important. It is absolutely essential that we have those around us who without judgement; without alarm and panic, can listen to us while we divide up and work through these thoughts and feelings, not getting stuck on the behaviours and etiquette.
It is so very, very important that as a society we maintain the ability to think for ourselves, question what is being shown to us and scrape off all this unnecessary fear mongering and fill it with logic and methodology. Truth is not given to us, it is something we must search for because it is different for each of our stories. OUR truths; our exploration into finding them, affects our entire community in a positive manner because in order to live like this we interact. We are now digging through falsities at a level that has never before been seen by man; getting information is not the issue, learning how to select and filter truth out of this barrage is. Good comes from this, but not from avoiding the opposite and inevitably what is intriguing. Shaming the curious is at epidemic levels.
This system does not build and create a virtuous environment, it undermines and erodes it. Creative humans are built curious and obsessive and so unavoidably step into unusual and challenging waters. Please re-read that. The nature of expression means we have a unique ability to have an unusual idea, hold onto it and make actions to develop it; culture in all forms being the productive manifestation of this. Yet this very same pattern can go into hyper drive and into not such great outputs also; endeavours which more often than not, are actions seeking comfort and release from the productivity; the racing-head-state that 'creativity' in it's nature compels us to undertake. Expressive output is therapy, but the process or motivation can be anything but. 'Creativity' being an attribute and thought pattern that every human has in varying amounts.
It takes a huge amount of courage to put your heart, soul and thoughts out there; taking those up in honour and then delighting by smashing them down in shame when slips happen is abhorrent. A particualry reactive scale by where a very small action can be made into a momentous indignity. Training and driving humans to delve deeper into this ability to procure and make requires as much, if not more attention to the other colours of this type of wildness, because to be frank, the propensity can be to excel at the more humanly deferent negative calibration. We want to teach people how to become more 'mindful'; but the more conscious you are, the more complications that arise from that also. Information is power but without the strategies, ignorance can be bliss. People fear what they don't understand and often desire what they don't have the skills to cope with.
We need to grow and flourish through encouraging less ignorant appraisal and more encompassing education. Fine can be poor; and ‘good’ comes from processing and loving, not fearing ‘bad’. Living, in it's essence is not about being 'good'- no-one is keeping a marker sheet out there. Sure karma, but that is a wheel that turns though light and dark, not avoiding it. We are all unintentionally hurting each other with worthy purposes; and then making amends and progress by modifying our conduct. It is not through the strengths, but through our weaknesses and insecurities that we are useful and can help each other.